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Food packaging firm Crown plans to cut 116 jobs at Worcester

By Laurence Gibbons , 05-Feb-2013
Last updated on 07-Feb-2013 at 19:02 GMT

Food packaging company Crown Food Europe plans to cut 116 jobs at its Worcester site.

The firm entered a 90-day consultation last week, after changes to the food packaging sector led to falling sales, it said.

Bosses at the Perrywood site are now in talks with staff and representatives from Unite the union about the future of the site, as part of a wider review of its operations.

A Crown spokesman said: “I can confirm that we have announced the start of a consultation process at our Perrywood site in Worcester. We are now in talks with trade union representatives about options for the future of the site, as part of a wider review of our UK and Ireland manufacturing and business support facilities.”

Restructuring

Crown said that supply across the four sites now exceeded demand and restructuring of the firm’s operations needed urgent consideration. But no decision on the site’s future had been taken, he added.

“Changes within the food packaging sector have caused a consistent decline in sales and our manufacturing capacity across our four UK and Ireland food sites now unfortunately exceeds demand. To protect the future of the wider business and its employees, we therefore need to consider proposals for restructuring.”

The site is one of four the firm runs in the UK, producing two-piece and three-piece cans and ends for the food market. The site was owned by Metal Box, before Crown acquired it in 1996.

Unite said that saving the jobs was vital to the local economy.

A Unite spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “The employees are devastated by the news. But Unite, as the union representing the majority of the workforce, will continue to campaign strongly on their behalf."

‘Skilled and committed’

Conservative MP for Worcester, Robin Walker has been campaigning for the workers since the consultation began and said he was impressed with the staff.

“Having met the union and the employees, I can say they are a skilled and committed workforce. The workforce and the union have behaved in an exemplary manner. There are other packaging firms in the area, and I have written to them to recommend an exemplary workforce.”

Walker said workers were shocked when the firm entered the consultation period, but added that there was potential for some staff to move to its other sites.

“There is scope for some individual members of staff to move to Crown’s other sites, because it is a highly skilled workforce. This situation clearly came as a shock to people who have worked there for a long time. Demand is not what it was for the can market.”

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