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More than 800 job cuts proposed at bakery plants

By Rod Addy+

22-Aug-2014
Last updated on 22-Aug-2014 at 12:18 GMT

2 Sisters announced in April proposals to close the Avana Bakeries and Solway Foods factories, but they remain open
2 Sisters announced in April proposals to close the Avana Bakeries and Solway Foods factories, but they remain open

More than 800 job cuts have been proposed at 2 Sisters Food Group’s Gunstones bakery and Avana Bakeries, previously owned by 2 Sisters and now owned by Utopia Foods.

John Higgins, organising regional secretary at the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), revealed 2 Sisters’ proposals to cut 112 jobs at Gunstones at Dronfield, in Derbyshire, at the end of September.

The company also anticipated “a further 300” jobs would go at the site in January 2015, Higgins told FoodManufacture.co.uk, shortly after a meeting with management. There are currently understood to be about 1,250 employees at the factory.

‘Enormous amount’

BFAWU general secretary Ronnie Draper said: “They are saying that’s what they need to restructure the business. We are putting other proposals on the table. They want to reduce the wage bill by an enormous amount.”

Meanwhile, Gary Johnston, BFAWU organising regional secretary for south Wales, said Utopia Foods, which bought the Avana Bakeries site at Newport in July, was consulting on up to 390 job losses there. Johnston claimed 450 full-time staff were presently employed at the plant.

Utopia Foods – led by two former senior managers from 2 Sisters – intends to keep Avana Bakeries and Solway Foods at Corby in Northamptonshire, which it took over at the same time , running.

In April, 2 Sisters confirmed plans to close the Avana Bakeries plant , which would have resulted in the loss of 650 employees, and the Solway Foods facility , which would have caused 900 job cuts.

‘Some job losses’

Meanwhile, consultations on job cuts were also underway with workers at 2 Sisters’ Solway Foods plant, said BFAWU organising regional secretary John Higgins. “There will be some job losses,” he said. “There are about 275 [full-time workers] at Corby now.”

2 Sisters has refused to comment on the plans and no one from Utopia Foods was available for comment as this article was being published.

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