2 Sisters Food Group job cuts illuminated

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

2 Sisters is discussing the Llangefni job cuts with Unite and local MP Albert Owen
2 Sisters is discussing the Llangefni job cuts with Unite and local MP Albert Owen

Related tags Food standards agency Hygiene

Plans to cut up to 300 jobs at 2 Sisters Food Group’s Llangefni chicken factory have been clarified by trades union Unite after a briefing involving managers and staff.

Unite regional officer Paddy McNaught told FoodManufacture.co.uk 2 Sisters had confirmed proposals to axe 116 direct employees and 184 agency workers at the plant, where 800 people work. 

The company had indicated it would make the staff cuts directly after the 45-day consultation process, which began on February 23, he said. 

Labour MP for Anglesey Albert Owen has branded the proposals “confusing”​ because the company had also outlined aims to turn the plant into a centre of excellence for producing chicken meat. 

“It’s a rather confusing situation,”​ he said. “We’ve had mixed messages from 2 Sisters. On one hand they want to turn their site in Llangefni into a centre of excellence and on the other they are putting many jobs at risk.”​ 

Reduce number of birds​ 

McNaught said the company had explained that it wanted to reduce the total number of birds processed at Llangefni and focus the site on the initial preparation of larger birds. “It currently processes 420,000 birds a week and the intention is to reduce down to 275,000.” 

According to 2 Sisters’s website, Llangefni is the only large whole bird manufacturing facility in the UK with a capability to handle carcass weight above 3.5kg. 

McNaught said the company planned to cut the number of shifts it ran at the site from two to one. 2 Sisters held a further meeting today to discuss its future operating model for the factory. 

“As far as they are telling us, they have not lost any supply contracts,”​ he said. “The level of demand they have is still there, so changing will mean production has to be picked up elsewhere.”​ 

One possibility was that 2 Sisters would conduct initial preparation of large birds at Llangefni, then transfer these to its plant at Sandycroft in Deeside for further processing, said McNaught.

Staff whose jobs were under threat at Llangefni could, therefore, potentially transfer to Sandycroft and Unite would look into this, he said. 

Alternative employment​ 

Owen said he would also work hard with 2 Sisters to find alternative employment for staff who lost their jobs. “I’ve already spoken to constituents who work there and are concerned and worried about their livelihoods and futures,” ​he said. “It’s a major employer on the island and everything needs to done to avoid or minimise job losses.​ 

“The agricultural food sector is hugely important to Anglesey. 2 Sisters say they are investing in the plant. To me this also means investing in the workforce. I urge them to tell us what their short-term and long-term plans for the site are.”​ 

2 Sisters’s Llangefni and Scunthorpe facilities were subjected to detailed audits by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on July 25 last year after reports in the Guardian​ of poor hygiene standards at the plants. 

The FSA initially exonerated both sites​, but then reviewed the evidence and admitted there had been hygiene failings at Scunthorpe​. 

Mcnaught said the company had categorically denied that the changes taking place at Llangefni were a result of hygiene issues. Rather, they had been prompted by a strategic review of the business that suggested different sites needed to specialise in different areas, he said.

He said to his knowledge, 2 Sisters had invested £500,000 in the site over the past year.

Related topics Meat, poultry & seafood

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