Warburtons to close Blackpool bakery: 71 jobs to go

By Anne Bruce

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Baker

71 jobs are at risk at Warburton's Blackpool bakery
71 jobs are at risk at Warburton's Blackpool bakery
Unions are urging bakery giant Warburtons to look at ways of keeping its Blackpool bakery open, after the company announced plans to close the site this week (September 12).

The bakery has started a 90-day consultation with 71 employees over closing the site in Brinwell Road.

Chairman Jonathan Warburton said the last year had been "particularly challenging" ​due to the economic climate and a competitive market.

Warburton said: "The proposed changes are designed to make our manufacturing operations more efficient which will help us better meet the demands of our customers and consumers across the UK.”

Geoff Atkinson, the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union regional organising secretary, told FoodManufacture.co.uk that formal consultations with management were set to start on September 27, with the site due to close in January 2013.

“Massive blow”

He said the closure of the bread roll-production site would be a massive blow to the largely seasonal local economy in Blackpool.

 “We want the company to look at ways of keeping the site open, perhaps by using different plant to make different products, or by reducing the size of the packs produced to make them more saleable, or looking at whether the site could be sold to another company as a going concern,”​ he said.

The site produced rolls in 12 packs. Members had suggested that supermarkets were finding it difficult  to sell such large pack sizes as in-store bakeries sold rolls in more convenient quantities.

Available options

Warburton said in a statement: "We appreciate how tough a period this is for our employees in Blackpool and we will work closely with them and their representatives to discuss our proposal and explore all available options."

The news of the plans to close the Blackpool site comes almost exactly a year after the baker announced a 90-day consultation to close its Shaw bakery in Oldham, which led to 73 redundancies and 101 jobs relocated.

It said at the time that it wanted to maximise its £45M investment in new state-of-the-art technology, including new plants at its Enfield, Bristol and Bolton sites.

The bakery reported a 37% drop in profits to £16.3M for 2011 compared with £23M in 2010.

The company employs about 4,500 staff in 11 bakeries and 13 depots across the UK.

Meanwhile, Warburton's 'no strings pay deal' appears to have averted the threat of nationwide strikes. To read more, click here​.


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