General Mills to close Berwick Jus-Rol dough factory this autumn

By Vince Bamford contact

- Last updated on GMT

General Mills acquired the Jus-Rol factory in 2001
General Mills acquired the Jus-Rol factory in 2001

Related tags: General mills, Baking, Pillsbury company

General Mills has announced it will close its chilled and frozen dough factory in Berwick, UK, this autumn.

The decision – which will affect 265 jobs at the site - marks the end of a consultation period that began last autumn when the manufacturer first proposed the closure of the facility.

GM site closures

General Mills site closures in the past 12 months have included:

East Tamaki, New Zealand

  • Operated by GM since: 2002
  • Closed: end of 2015
  • Employees: 20
  • Produced: fresh pasta, sauces and refrigerated soup

Kaohsiung, Taiwan

  • Operated by GM since: 2006
  • Closed: July 2015
  • Employees: 78
  • Produced: frozen dough products for Taiwan market

Junge Boulevard, Joplin, Missouri, US

  • Operated by GM since: 2014
  • Closed: end of 2015
  • Employees: 120
  • Produced: snack products

New Albany, Indiana, US

  • Operated by GM since: 1959
  • Closing: mid-2016
  • Employees: 400
  • Produces: refrigerated baked goods

West Chicago, Illinois, US

  • Operated by GM since: 1959
  • Closing: mid-2017
  • Employees: 500
  • Produces: cereals, meals and snacks

It is the latest in a string of site closures announced by the business in the past 12 months, including facilities in New Zealand, the US and Taiwan (see box-out).

Cost savings target 

General Mills is undertaking restructuring projects in the US and internationally in a bid to boost efficiency, and last month announced it had increased its cost savings target to $500m by 2018.

In its latest results, for the second fiscal quarter of 2016, the business reported net sales down 6% to $4.4bn, with sales down 2% on a constant-currency basis. Total segment operating profit fell 1% to $839 million, though rose 2% on a constant currency basis.

Operated by General Mills since 2001, the Berwick site is known locally as the Jus-Rol factory and produces baking mixes and refrigerated and frozen dough products.

The Jus-Rol factory was established in 1958 and was one of the biggest employers in Berwick. It was acquired by General Mills in 2001 when it bought the Pillsbury and Jus-Rol businesses from Grand Metropolitan (now Diageo).

'Devastated' by news

Trade union Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) said staff at the site were “devastated”​ by the news.

Since the initial announcement we have been in extensive consultation meetings with the company, looking at ways to avoid a closure​,” added Usdaw area organiser Rab Donnelly. “With great sadness for the workers on the site, their families and the wider community, this proved not to be possible​.

This has been an extremely difficult process for all concerned and is devastating news for the staff.​”

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