In both cases, local press reports cited rumours that the moves had been prompted by reduced business with troubled supermarket chain Tesco.
The Tipton site is the single largest supplier of pork leg meat cuts to Tulip’s UK factories, and of pork retail packs to major retailers. It produces fresh pork such as joints, chops, fillets and mince for supermarkets and foodservice customers.
In a statement, Tulip confirmed it had entered into consultations with employees at its Tipton site in relation to a proposed restructure of its shift patterns after losing “significant volume with a customer”.
Risk of redundancy
As a result of taking that hit, the company was proposing to reduce from three to two shifts and as a result up to 78 roles had been identified as at risk of redundancy, Tulip said.
However, it hoped individuals potentially impacted by the change might be able to transfer elsewhere within the business.
“Whilst our commercial team is working hard to replace the lost volume the harsh reality is that we are operating in a very challenging marketplace and therefore need to take the necessary measures to ensure the site can remain competitive,” said group HR director Kirsty Wilkins.
‘Uncertainty and concern’
“I do appreciate that this announcement will cause a great deal of uncertainty and concern for those people currently employed on the twilight shift and we will be working with them and their representatives over the coming weeks to identify ways in which we can mitigate the potential impact of our proposal.”
Tulip’s announcement follows millions of pounds of investment in the business in 2014, including £16M at two sites in Cornwall, creating 250 jobs.
At the end of last week, Karro Food Group said it would have to cut about 150 jobs at its Scunthorpe plant in Billett Lane. The firm said it had been forced into the decision as a result of “a significant reduction in bacon order volumes from a large customer”.
Tesco, which reported last week a 0.3% fall in like-for-like sales in the 19 weeks to January 3, is struggling with accounting issues and unveiled a turnaround plan on January 8. The strategy involves drastic cost-cutting and efficiency measures.