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Premier Foods puts 15 jobs under threat with closure of flour mill

By Mike Stones , 11-Jan-2013
Last updated on 11-Jan-2013 at 12:13 GMT2013-01-11T12:13:13Z

Britain’s biggest food manufacturer Premier Foods revealed plans yesterday (January 10) to close its Glasgow flour mill, casting doubt over the future of 15 jobs at the Dunaskin Street site.

The firm said the decision followed a review of its milling capacity needs in light of reduced milling volumes. It forms “part of its broader strategy to strengthen its milling business and build value in the company’s bread division”, said the firm.

Bob Spooner, md bread and group supply chain director, added: “We recognise the impact our proposal will have on our employees. However, given the excess capacity in our milling network, it’s important we take the necessary steps to build a more sustainable milling business in the future.”

Spooner said the Glasgow mill was one of the company’s smallest mills mainly supplying flour to its Hovis bakery in Duke Street, Glasgow.

If Premier Foods’ plans go ahead, the mill would close by the end of the first quarter of this year.

Alternative roles

Consultations with the 15 employees affected by the plans are expected to start shortly. The firm said it hoped to redeploy most of the employees to alternative roles within its other operations in the Glasgow area.

The decision follows Premier’s announcement last November that it planned to close two bakeries and four distribution centres with the loss of 900 jobs from its bread division.

Premier Foods’ Greenford bakery site in west London and its Birmingham bakery are to close this year. This is in addition to the previously announced closure of the Eastleigh bakery. Production from these locations will be moved to the firm’s remaining bread manufacturing sites.

The firm also said it planned to rationalise its bread distribution network by removing about 130 distribution routes.

‘Consistently struggled’

Speaking at the time, Jennie Formby, Unite’s national officer for food and drink, said: “This is just another stage in the disaster story that has been Premier Foods over recent years, which has consistently struggled ever since its decision to buy Hovis in 2006.

“At the time, this strategy was described as ‘doomed’ by some analysts and it has resulted in the company being saddled with massive debts.”

The week after the announcement, the md of Premier Foods’ bakery division, Iwan Williams , resigned from his position.

Williams was appointed last November by Premier Foods’ chief executive Michael Clarke. He was responsible for directing the restructuring the bakery division – including its Hovis brand.

A Premier Foods spokeswoman said: “Iwan Williams advised the business a while ago that he would like to move on next year to pursue other opportunities.

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