The move could represent a reduction in headcount of one third at the plant.
In a statement, the company said: “United Biscuits announced in early June proposals to restructure our manufacturing operations at our Manchester site. This was part of our ongoing commitment to deliver modern, efficient and competitive operations at the site.
“Discussions have been held with employees and union representatives, regarding the potential impact to roles at the site and we are still in consultation.
“The proposed restructure will result in the potential loss of up to 157 roles from a total workforce of around 630 employees. These proposals are not put forward lightly and wherever possible we will look to minimise the impact of the proposed restructure for employees.”
In March, UB faced union unrest at its McVitie’s Cake Company Halifax plant amid job cut proposals and changes to shift patterns that looked set to affect wages. At the time, the company said it stood to make eight people at that site redundant.
It denied that the plans were part of a company-wide strategy. However, a UB employee told FoodManufacture.co.uk at the time: “Employees of McVitie’s Harlesden are currently going through the same survival project, resulting in job cuts, shift changes and potential wage cuts …”
‘Suffering the most’
The source said the engineering department there was “suffering the most, resulting in the threat of up to a £15,000 wage cut”.
UB responded: “This is normal business practice. The changes currently being proposed in Halifax are unique to that site and do not affect any other UB operations.”
Meanwhile, companies including Burton’s Biscuits, now owned by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Mondelēz and Kellogg are reportedly considering bids for UB.
The firm’s private equity owners Blackstone and PAI Partners have appointed Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, among others, to assess financial options for it. These include an Initial Public Offering of shares on the stock market, rather than an outright sale.