General Mills factory closure plan threatens 265 jobs

By Alice Foster contact

- Last updated on GMT

General Mills plans to close its Jus-Rol factory in Berwick
General Mills plans to close its Jus-Rol factory in Berwick

Related tags: General mills, Baking

The planned closure of a General Mills factory, threatening 265 jobs, has been described as a “devastating blow” for Berwick-upon-Tweed.

General Mills has announced plans to close its Tweedmouth factory which manufactures Jus-Rol pastry and is one of the largest employers in the town.

Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) representative Rab Donnelly said the union would “leave no stone unturned”​ in its efforts to prevent the closure.

Reaction from union

“This is a very sad day for the people of Berwick and our members will rightly be very worried about their future.”

  • Rab Donnelly, USDAW

‘Devastating blow’

It’s a devastating blow to our members, their families and the local economy,” ​Donnelly told FoodManufacture.co.uk.

“The site is one of town’s biggest employers, if not the biggest, with more than 50 years of history in Berwick.

“This is a very sad day for the people of Berwick and our members will rightly be very worried about their future.”

Jus-Rol first produced pastry in Berwick more than 50 years ago​ and the facility has been operated by General Mills since 2001.

Berwick East county councillor Jim Smith said the town was “devastated”​ by the news and job losses would add to already high levels of unemployment in the area.

‘Lots of worried families’

​There’s a lot of worried families at the moment and no sign of any other employment,” ​Mr Smith said.

Yesterday (October 29) General Mills issued a statement about the plans to close the factory, which bakes Betty Crocker mixes as well as frozen and chilled dough products.

“The proposal is subject to consultation with union officials and employee representatives, which could lead to the closure of the site by the autumn of 2016,” ​its statement said. 

“If implemented, closure of the site would affect approximately 265 employees.” 

A General Mills spokeswoman said a regional review had found that the firm needed to consolidate production to “address excess capacity”​ in its UK baking business.

“This is a business decision that is in no way a reflection on the employees in Berwick who have worked really hard to support the business,” ​she said.

“We know this is very difficult news for all of those affected.”

History of the factory

1954 – Baker Tom Forsyth founded Jus-Rol 

1958 – Jus-Rol moved to Berwick after rapid growth

1990s – The firm was sold to Grand Metropolitan

2001 – Jus-Rol was sold to General Mills 

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