The closure of Allied Bakeries’ Orpington plant in Kent threatens up to 170 jobs and local MP Jo Johnson has demanded answers from Allied’s parent company Associated British Foods (ABF).
Allied blamed the planned closure of the factory on the “long term decline” of the bread market, but in a post on his website, Orpington MP Johnson said: “We also need a proper explanation of why Allied, which has been baking here since 1938, cannot meet its corporate objectives through restructuring elsewhere in the company.
“The consultation must be a proper one that gives real answers to these questions. In the meantime, my deepest sympathies are with the hardworking employees affected by this disappointing news.”
Johnson said he had met with ABF ceo George Weston and site managers at Allied, which makes bread brands such as Kingsmill, Burgen and Allinson, to discuss the proposal.
Workers were informed of the decision earlier this week. Allied has given no direct indication of the number of staff affected if the plant closes. However, Johnson said he had been told up to 170 jobs could be affected, although the site would continue to employ more than 200 people working to support distribution.
Nick Law, operations director for Allied Bakeries, said: “The potential closure of manufacturing at Orpington has been an extremely tough decision and in no way reflects the commitment and efforts of all those who are currently working there.”
In a statement on the closure plans, Allied said: “Due to the long-term decline in the bread market, Allied Bakeries is proposing the closure of its manufacturing plant in Orpington to maintain competitiveness.
“The consultation process around the proposal will commence immediately with those potentially affected and their union representatives.
“Every effort, including professional outplacement support, will be made to secure alternative employment either within Allied Bakeries, the broader ABF group or externally in the local area for potentially affected employees. This proposal does not affect Allied Bakeries’ regional depot facility in Orpington.