Four hundred jobs at risk as Bakkavor plant prepares to make redundancies

ONE in four jobs could be lost at a food plant after its management admitted that 375 jobs were at risk.

90-day consultation period has been put in place at the Bakkavor plant in Bourne, South Lincs, to prepare staff for any redundancies.

Bakkavor have “experienced difficult tradition conditions” during the recession but will face tough opposition from Unite, who are representing staff at the site.

David Roome, Unite regional officer, said: “The workforce is understandably angry. “They work very hard in extremely challenging conditions for very low wages and this is the thanks they get - 300 jobs could be gone soon after Christmas.

“This community simply cannot absorb redundancies on this scale. Bakkavor is a major employer around here and it has a duty to behave responsibly to the people of Bourne.

“Many family members are working at the plant with husbands and wives working alongside one another so the threat of job losses is potentially devastating.”

Bakkavor is an Icelandic company and one of the biggest suppliers of bagged salads, stir fry, pre-cut fruit and vegetables to many of the UK’s leading supermarkets.

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Jennie Formby, Unite national officer has urged the plant’s management to “sit down and work with the union because it is nobody’s interest to allow these potential problems to escalate.”

A Bakkavor spokesman said: “For some time, Bakkavor’s prepared produce business at Bourne has experienced difficult trading conditions which have resulted in reduced sales volumes and higher raw material costs.

“As a result changes now need to be made in order to sustain and improve the business’s current position.

“There are 375 employees put at risk as part of this process and if the proposal goes ahead it may result in a proportion of this number being made redundant.

“From the start of the process we have involved Unite and talks are ongoing with them, as well as with our employee representatives at Bourne Salads.

“There are a number of options under consideration and we aim to minimise job losses. We hope that the workforce at Bourne can be flexible in working with us to achieve this goal.

“We appreciate that this is a very difficult time for everyone at the site and we would like to stress that this proposal does not reflect their commitment and hard work.

“The only objective of the proposal is to ensure the long-term viability and sustainability of our business at Bourne.”