The claim was made in a local press report. However, a spokesman for Karro would only say that it had been forced into the move after “a significant reduction in bacon order volumes from a large customer of Karro Food Group’s Scunthorpe site”.
He said it had entered consultations with employees over the plan. “Proposals of this type are taken extremely reluctantly, and only when all other options have been ruled out.
“However, unfortunately these proposals are essential in order to ensure Karro’s continued viability and growth as a business. We are working closely with USDAW [the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers] and employee representatives to look for every opportunity to mitigate job losses and will support our employees in every way possible through this difficult process.”
David Gill, national officer for USDAW, said in a statement: “This is disappointing news for our members and they will be very concerned about the future.
“We are aware of the difficulties that a reduction in orders can have and we welcome the company’s commitment to engage in meaningful consultations, which may go beyond the statutory minimum period, as well as their determination to bring in new orders to minimise job losses.
“It is our priority to maximise employment on the site and we will look closely at the company’s proposals. We will support, advise and represent our members through this difficult period and we will be seeking the best outcome possible in the circumstances.”
North Lincolnshire Council leader Liz Redfern told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “We have said we would work with the company and its employees to put a taskforce together.”
The group would include the council’s head of regeneration and representatives from organisations such as Job Centre Plus, she said.
The latest news from Karro was a fresh blow to the local area following “massive job losses” across several sectors in 2013, said Redfern. “One job is one job too much and we are there to support individuals and companies.”
Tesco outlined its plans to turnaround its UK business yesterday (January 8). One analyst who had participated in the analysts call following its trading statement told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “It’s fair to say there is going to be SKU [stock keeping unit] rationalisation on a category-by-category basis.”
However, he stressed the situation at Karro sounded more like efforts to cut costs by shifting business around, rather than scrapping SKUs altogether.