The firm claimed it had tried to remedy a number of operational and technical issues at the factory, but described it as a “loss-making site”.
Peter Judge, chief operating officer at Tulip, said: “The harsh reality is that there are a number of very serious operational and technical issues at the Tranfoods site. It would require significant investment to bring the Abbey Street facility to the manufacturing standards of the rest of the group.
“Given the current over capacity in the market and the prevailing economic climate we do not believe there is a viable alternative other than the proposed closure of the site.”
Unite the union’s regional officer Franny Joyce, said that the prospects for the site were “very bleak” and that Tulip had “let down” employees at the site.
The union is urging Tulip to provide business information to justify the closure of the plant, following the start of the 90-day consultation period on January 10.
Joyce told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “Although it is early days, we are very disappointed at Tulip’s decision to close the factory. We have been working for the past 18 months to agree new terms and conditions, and cost savings at the factory.
“We believe that we are about to see the benefits of these changes, and employees have co-operated at every stage so that the factory can stay open.”
Alternatives to closure
Unite said that it will press Tulip for more information on Monday 16, and added that it would seek alternatives to the closure.
The site prepares and packs meat products for Tranfoods, part of the firm’s Parkam Foods group. Tulip acquired Parkam Foods last November for an undisclosed sum.
Parkam Foods employs over 750 people and had estimated revenues of between £100M and £150M last year.
Through the acquisition, Tulip also owns Freshway Chilled Foods and Trophy Foods.
In total, Tulip operates 17 sites across the UK.