While the Jacobs maker does not refute that its factory in Merseyside will be cutting back its workforce, it said only the statutory consultation process is taking place now.
But be it this year or the next, Christmas is not going to be a very merry time for many factory workers. Almost 50% of the Aintree site’s workforce could face the chop in December 2024.
Opened in 1914, the Aintree factory was Jacob’s first English factory and remains the primary producer of Jacob’s products in the UK, including Cream Crackers and Twiglets. It currently employs 763 workers, but, according to the GMB union, up to 361 could face redundancy.
It comes just a year after a bitter pay dispute between workers and management at the plant, which saw union workers take part in 11 weeks of strikes.
“This decision will leave many workers feeling frustrated and worried,” said Lisa Ryan, GMB regional organiser.
“In the run up to Christmas last year, GMB members at the site were on the picket line fighting for better pay. The workers won the pay they deserved.”
She added the union will again “fight tooth and nail for the best outcome for Jacob’s workers.”
pladis said the job cuts were critical in adapting to meet future demand.
“Jacob’s is one of the most iconic brands in the UK and has been around for over 100 years. To ensure it can remain for another 100 years, it is essential we address the current constraints we have at Aintree,” said the company in a statement.
“We have therefore proposed some changes at the site which include a significant investment in the infrastructure but reducing the overall site footprint.
“This proposal will now be subject to consultation with our employees as it could result in a reduction in roles at Aintree from December 2024.
“We will do everything we can to support our colleagues through this uncertain time.”
50 new jobs in Cumbria
Meanwhile - as part of a £12m investment to expand the capacity of its production site in Cumbria – pladis has inaugurated a new warehouse that will support the creation of 50 new jobs in the region.
The £2m warehouse – which has space for 1,600 pallets – is designed to support the new process capability added to its Carlisle factory, including four new production lines to produce ‘fully coated products, products in sharing bags, healthier products and fruit-filled products.’
The factory produces more than 40m individual biscuits each day, including bourbons and custard creams.
More than 150 workers have been recruited at the Carlisle factory over the past 18 months, bringing the workforce to over 800. It is one of the largest employers in the city.
pladis MD David Murray said the warehouse marks a proud moment in the company’s 192-year history in the area.
Carlisle MP John Stevenson added it’s a very significant investment.
“It demonstrates confidence by pladis in Carlisle and in the products that are produced here,” he said.