Union bosses are in urgent talks with pork processor Tulip to try and save jobs after the company announced plans to stop production of fresh pork and bacon at its Thetford factory with the loss of up to 350 permanent jobs. Up to 200 agency workers will also be affected.
Miles Hubbard, Transport and General Workers’ Union (T&G) regional industrial organiser, said: “The T&G will do everything it can to work with the company to keep production and jobs at the site. Workers are understandably devastated. They have worked hard to improve the plant and are very upset about the decision. The loss of 350 jobs will have a massive impact on this predominantly rural area, and will hit Thetford hard.”
But Peter Judge, md of Tulip’s North East division, claimed that the site had no future. “The Thetford site has been losing money for some time and while we have tried very hard to return the factory to profitability over recent years, the site is over 40 years old and has inherent infrastructure and environmental issues that make it uncompetitive in today’s marketplace.”
Production would be transferred to sites in Cornwall, Westerleigh and Tipton in due course, added Judge. However, production of cooked bacon and fried products would continue at Thetford, he said.
Tulip has now entered a 90-day consultation period with union representatives.