The firm revealed its plan to close the factory last August, in a move described by trades union Usdaw as “heartbreaking”. It gave official confirmation of the plan yesterday (October 15), announcing its intention to close the plant on November 15.
A 2 Sisters spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk that the firm had identified the potential to relocate up to 200 jobs. All workers were being supported in their search for alternative employment, he added.
In a statement, the processor said: “It is with regret that 2 Sisters Food Group today formally announces its intention to cease production and therefore close its roasted poultry production site at Haughley Park, Suffolk.
“Since informing our employees of this proposal in August, we have continually met with colleagues to try and find other solutions and alternatives to closure.
"However, after taking this time to hear and explore all viewpoints and ideas with employees and union representatives, the inescapable truth is that the site is unsustainable and unviable – environmentally, economically and commercially.”
The decision to close the plant had not been taken lightly and had been made following a detailed manufacturing footprint review, it said.
“We are firmly committed to our operations in East Anglia and have invested tens of millions of pounds into the region since 2005. Our sites at Eye, Flixton, Witham, Basildon and Thetford provide livelihoods for more than 2,500 people and their families,” said the statement.
Previously management had described the Haughley Park roast chicken factory as “an ageing site with many challenges”, which did not meet the firm’s commitment to sustainable manufacturing.
‘The claims are genuine’
Adam Skwierawski, Usdaw area organiser for Cambridgeshire and West Suffolk, told BBC News: “We examined the employer’s claims and the claims are genuine and our role is to try to reduce the impact of redundancies on our members.
“In the context of this horrible piece of news, we have secured some commitment from them for about 200 members to transfer their employment to Thetford, Witham and Eye.”
The site employs 680 workers, of which 430 are full-time employees.
Meanwhile, Skwierawski said in August that the government should step in to prevent the job losses. “It is heartbreaking to see these skilled jobs going. I think, in the light of recent developments in the food manufacturing sector, there is a need for the government to intervene and to provide support.”