Vion’s Welsh Country Foods in management buyout talks to save 70 jobs

By Lorraine Mullaney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Welsh country foods Wales

A management buy-out could save jobs at Welsh Country Foods, said Vion
A management buy-out could save jobs at Welsh Country Foods, said Vion
Vion has confirmed that a management buyout could save 70 jobs at its Welsh Country Foods lamb-processing site.

Almost 350 workers are employed at the facility on the Isle of Anglesey, which handles 640,000 lambs a year.

The jobs first came under threat when Vion lost a key contract​ to supply lamb to Asda in January.

A spokesman for Vion told “We can confirm that discussions continue with members of the management at Welsh Country Foods about a possible management buyout, and also with several other interested parties.

“This is consistent with our stated commitment to investigate all options for the future of the site. While these discussions are taking place, it would be inappropriate to make further comment.”

The spokesman refused to name any of the other interested parties.

Buyer needed by April

A buyer needs to be found by April when the workers’ 90-day consultation period comes to a close.

Management at the site have now come forward to propose a deal that could save the abattoir and an initial 50 to 70 jobs in the slaughterhouse and boning department. There is hope that further jobs would grow from there.

Unite the union welcomed the news.

Unite Wales secretary Andy Richards told “It remains our priority to do all we can to ensure that we save as many jobs as possible at Gaerwen and secure the best possible future for our members at the site. With this in mind, we of course welcome the management buyout proposal that has been put on the table.

“We are committed to working with all relevant parties including the Welsh government, which we know are equally dedicated to supporting Welsh workers.”

‘Huge concerns about the future’

Anglesey Council Leader councillor Bryan Owen said: “There are, of course, huge concerns about the future of Welsh Country Foods as a major employer on the island. However, we still hold out hope that there can be a future for the plant, even if this is on a smaller scale.

“There is no other large abattoir in North Wales – an area which specialises in beef and lamb production – and the Gaerwen plant has been newly relicensed by the EU following inspection and improvements, so the potential is there. I also understand that the Welsh government is doing everything in its power to ensure a positive outcome.”

The County Council is coordinating support and assistance provided by Unite, Wales TUC, Job Centre, Careers Wales, local college Coleg Menai and rural development programme Menter Môn.

Owen added: “We’re now focusing on ensuring the best support for employees facing possible redundancy. All partners are working together to provide the Welsh Country Foods workforce with as much practical assistance as possible over the coming weeks.”

The County Council has written to the Welsh government business minister requesting a meeting to discuss the future of Welsh Country Foods.

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