Maple Leaf cuts 236 jobs at Walsall bakery

By Tom Chandler

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Maple leaf, Bread

Maple Leaf's West Midlands bakery is to close with the loss of 236 jobs
Maple Leaf's West Midlands bakery is to close with the loss of 236 jobs
Canadian firm Maple Leaf has confirmed that it plans to close its West Midlands bakery, after failing to find a buyer for the site, with the loss of 236 jobs.

Maple Leaf claimed that the Walsall bakery, which manufactures sliced bread, was no longer profitable.

The firm said that negotiations with potential buyers had been unsuccessful, leaving it with no other option but to close the site.

Paul Clipson, the firm’s HR director told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “Due to a shift in Maple Leaf's focus to the premium bakery sector, the Walsall site will be closing at the end of March.

Not profitable

The plant is not profitable, and there has been no further interest from potential buyers. After six years, the factory no longer fits in with the business agenda of Maple Leaf.”

The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers union's regional officer John Higgins, said that the union felt the consultation process had been “handled very badly”, ​although he accepted the decision was inevitable in the absence of a buyer.

The workers are very annoyed,”​ said Higgins. “Long-time service workers, and people of age will find it difficult to find a job if the site is closed," ​He added.

With possible deals to buy the site falling through, it seems nigh on impossible for the workers to continue at the site.”

Management

Those facing redundancy at the Walsall site, 190 paid workers, with the rest being management and technical staff.

Maple Leaf said it will now focus on new lines at its Rotherham and Maidstone sites, to continue with the production of bagels and croissants.

The firm's New York Bakery bagels make up 76% of all bagels sold in the UK. It sold 110M bagels last year.

In November 2011, the firm told FoodManufacture.co.uk that it was “very hopeful”, ​that a deal could be reached that would allow staff to keep their jobs. But it did not rule out the possibility of redundancies.

Early in the same month, the firm confirmed its intention to invest £11.5M infrastructural improvements and £3M on a communications project.

Related topics: Bakery, Cereals and bakery preparations

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