Warburtons' 73 job cuts 'had to be made': union

By Tom Chandler

- Last updated on GMT

Warburtons' job cuts were "a difficult decision that had to be made"
Warburtons' job cuts were "a difficult decision that had to be made"

Related tags: 90-day consultation period, Manchester, Employment, Lancashire

Bakery firm Warburtons' move to axe 73 jobs at its Oldham site was a “difficult decision that had to be made”, according to the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU).

Roy Streeter, BFAWU regional manager for Merseyside and Manchester, told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “Difficult decisions had to be made, but we will do all that we can to support the workers to find other opportunities.”

Following a 90-day consultation period, the remaining 101 employees from the Pennine Bakery will now be relocated to other Warburtons sites, or offered other employment.

Alternate employment

Streeter said that the BFAWU is now focused on finding alternate employment for those workers faced with redundancies, before the closure of the bakery on January 20.

According to a statement by Warburtons, the firm will now focus on introducing a £39M investment programme to improve the technology and efficiency at new plants in Bristol and Bolton, following the closure of the Oldham site.

Robert Higginson, md of Warburtons said: “Closing a bakery is the hardest decision a family firm like Warburtons has to make. But these changes to our manufacturing and distribution operations are vital to ensure we can continue to meet the demands of our customers and consumers.”

The firm also said that redundancies have been spread across different roles at the Pennine Bakery, and that early retirement had been an option for employees at the site.

Warburtons operates 13 bakeries with an equivalent number of depots, and employs 4,500 workers, producing 2M products a day.

Compulsory redundancies

In September 2011 FoodManufacture.co.uk first reported on the possibility of job losses when Warburtons revealed that it had not ruled out compulsory redundancies at the beginning of the consultation process.

At the time, the BFAWU accused the firm of putting profits ahead of worker wellbeing.

Warburtons insisted that it remained profitable, but said that any redundancies were in response to tough economic conditions.

A statement from the firm in September said: “As a family business, we have a responsibility to make sure we are in the best possible shape for the future so that we ensure our business is efficient and continues to be profitable.”

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