2 Sisters’ Haughley Park factory closure ‘devastating’

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Employment

The decision to close Haughley Park roast chicken factory was a 'devastating' blow, said Usdaw
The decision to close Haughley Park roast chicken factory was a 'devastating' blow, said Usdaw
The closure of 2 Sisters’ roast chicken factory at Haughley Park in Suffolk, which threatens up to 430 jobs, is a “devastating” blow, a leading union official has warned.

“It is devastating that the employer has announced that the site will close on 15 November​,” said Adam Skwierawski, the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers’ (Usdaw’s) area organiser for Cambridgeshire and West Suffolk.

“My prime focus is to secure redeployment opportunities for as many of our members as possible into suitable, alternative roles within the 2 Sisters Food Group. So far we have found approximately 200 vacancies at other sites, which Haughly Park workers can apply for, including 158 at Thetford, around 60 at Witham and more at Eye,”​ he added.

Employs 680 workers

The Haughley Park factory employs 680 workers, of which 430 are full-time employees.

Skwierawski said talks were continuing with the manufacturer to find alternative employment for all workers affected by the closure.

The union said its officials had met company managers to examine the economic indicators for the ailing production plant. Those figures revealed “the extent of weekly losses and the overall downward trend in order volumes,” ​it said.

A 2 Sisters spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk yesterday (October 16) the firm had identified the potential to relocate up to 200 jobs.

The manufacturer said in a statement: “It is with regret that 2 Sisters Food Group formally announces its intention to cease production and therefore close its roasted poultry production site at Haughley Park, Suffolk.”

‘Unsustainable and unviable’

The statement went on to say that after canvassing  the views of employees and union representatives, “the inescapable truth is that the site is unsustainable and unviable – environmentally, economically and commercially”.

Management had previously described the Haughley Park factory as “an ageing site with many challenges​”.

But 2 Sisters said it was committed to its East Anglia operations, in which it had invested tens of millions of pounds. The firm’s sites at Eye, Flixton, Witham, Basildon and Thetford provided livelihoods for more than 2,500 people and their families, it said.

More information about the plant closure is available here​.

When the firm revealed its plan to close the factory last August, Usdaw described the decision as “heartbreaking”.

Usdaw is the UK’s fourth biggest trade union with more than 432,000 members.

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