NESTLE is looking at plans to cut 166 jobs at is York base.

The company has announced today that around 300 jobs could be going across the UK - with 143 of those in the York factory and another 23 in back office support functions.

A spokesman said the cuts are proposals only at this stage, and are subject to a 45 day consultation.

It could see 143 jobs go at the York factory as well as 10 in the central technical and production department, and 13 in the warehouse and transport operation.

If confirmed, the proposed changes would take place over the next two years.

There is no production moving away from York, the spokesman added, and the proposals are part of changes to shift patterns designed to make the factory more efficient.

York Press:

The changes would be necessary irrespective of the UK’s decision to leave the EU, he said.

The York Central MP Rachael Maskell said she was shocked by the news, and she spoke of Brexit fears for the factory.

A statement from the company said Nestle was talking to empoyees about proposals to make "some changes" to factory operations in the UK. Sites in York, Fawdon, Halifax and Girvan are affected, with a total of 298 possible job losses which the company expects can be achieved throug voluntary redundancies.

Most of the changes involve amended and standardised shift patterns, but Blue Riband production could move from Fawdon to Poland.

The statement added: "These proposals are being made by Nestlé UK to ensure that these sites operate more efficiently and remain competitive in a rapidly changing external environment."

"A 45 day consultation on these proposals will commence as soon as possible with trade unions and employee representatives. Nestlé UK appreciates that this is an uncertain time for employees and will work hard to ensure all are supported through this difficult period."

The unions have greeted the news with anger, saying the anger, saying the company should "export chocolate, not jobs".

GMB and Unite have both confirmed they are fighting the cuts.

Lynn Brook, GMB Officer Yorkshire and North Derbyshire region, said:

“Once again Yorkshire is bearing the brunt of the cuts in an area synonymous with confectionery production par excellence for decades.

“These jobs belong in York and Halifax.

“This Government needs to give confectionery workers in York - home of the Kit Kat - ‘a break’ and back them before it’s too late.

“GMB will fight these cuts all the way and has already joined forces with York Central MP Rachael Maskell.”

York's other MP Julian Sturdy and the city council deputy leader Keith Aspden have given their reaction to the news.

Like Ms Maskell, Cllr Aspden said the job losses would only add to fears about the impact of Brexit on York.

He said: “I am concerned to hear about these potential job losses in York. I will ask the Council to ensure that it receives assurances from Nestle that support will be in place to give workers and families the support they need – particularly as the 45-day consultation starts.

“News such as this will only add to the growing uncertainty as a result of the government’s decision to rip the UK out of the single market.”

Conservative MP for York Outer, Mr Sturdy said he was "extremely disappointed" with the news.

"I understand these proposals have been made to rebalance Nestle’s local operations, but this is nevertheless a very concerning time for workers and their families.

"It is important that Nestle remains a strong local business so it can continue to provide jobs and security for families in York and I will be doing everything I can to support those affected.

He added: "Following the announcement, I have written to Nestle to urge that all efforts are made to support those who could be impacted by these proposals and to protect jobs where possible”.

City council leader David Carr added that no one at Nestle had spoken to him about the proposals before they were made public.

He said: "This is very bad news, and I would like to know a lot more. I note they are proposals at this stage and subject to consultation, and I shall be contacting the management at Nestle as soon as possible to find out more."