Heinz axes 71 roles at baked beans plant

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Heinz claims to make one billion cans of baked beans at Kitt Green
Heinz claims to make one billion cans of baked beans at Kitt Green

Related tags Aunt bessie United kingdom

Heinz UK and Ireland has slashed 71 roles at its Kitt Green factory near Wigan.

The company confirmed the move was part of continued efforts to increase competitiveness and improve efficiency and that all affected staff had taken voluntary redundancy.

“… We are investing in projects to automate the movement of finished goods from the production line and also to further optimise our can making operations and ways of working,”​ the company said in a statement.

“In parallel, we also recently secured funding for a number of voluntary redundancies for non-management operations employees as well as factory based non-management distribution centre employees. This has resulted in a reduction of 71 roles through voluntary redundancy at the site.”

One billion cans

Heinz makes more than one billion cans of baked beans at the Kitt Green facility, which it claims is Europe’s largest food factory. It operates six factories in the UK and Ireland, at Telford, Westwick, Worcester, Kendal and Dundalk and employs 2,700 UK staff.

Concerns about job losses across those plants were raised in early 2013 by union bosses following Heinz’s £18bn takeover by a consortium led by US investor Warren Buffet.

The latest round of job losses follows the revelation of Heinz’s plans to close its Aunt Bessie’s potato factory at North Walsham in Norfolk in October last year, threatening 200 jobs there​.

Aunt Bessie’s

Heinz claimed the move was linked to the expiry of its licence to make Aunt Bessie’s frozen potato products there and was not connected to the acquisition.

While Heinz generates the largest proportion of its sales in Europe, its North American consumer goods arm is its most profitable division.

Meanwhile, market analyst Canadean reported in January this year that Heinz’s products were proving popular in India, with sales growing from $4M in 2010 to $6M in 2013.

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