The logistics firm has now entered into consultation with employees and union representatives at the affected sites to discuss their options.
A DHL spokesman said: “Affected colleagues have been informed of the situation and will shortly enter into consultation with the company and union representatives to discuss their options, including redeploying to other DHL operations in the area.
‘Based on commercial reasons’
“Both DHL and Hovis stress that the proposed changes are based on commercial reasons and in no way reflect on the performance of the Southampton and Bawtry operations.”
Union Unite, which has members working at the two sites, said the closures would be a serious blow to the workers and their families, as well as the Southampton economy.
Acting regional secretary for the south east Ian Woodland added: “We are asking for an urgent meeting with the Hovis management to explore the business rationale for the proposed closure and to make the case strongly for a rethink on this decision.”
The decision to close the Southampton mill was revealed alongside Hovis’ annual results on Monday (1 October), as well as plans to sell its Selby and Manchester mills to Whitworth Bros and integrate its Wellingborough mill into its supply chain.
Hovis chief executive Nish Kankiwala said the decision to exit the three milling sites and the integration of Wellingborough would not affect the manufacturer’s ability to deliver high-quality flour for the brand.
“There is no doubt the bread market will remain extremely challenging. However, we are confident our strategy to become a focused, fully-integrated manufacturer of bakery products will allow us to further strengthen our successful business,” he added.