Union slams Tesco’s ‘brutal’ act threatening Kerry Foods jobs

By Gwen Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Richmond sausages producer Kerry Foods has lost a contract with Tesco, putting the jobs at its Burton site at risk
Richmond sausages producer Kerry Foods has lost a contract with Tesco, putting the jobs at its Burton site at risk
Tesco’s termination of a Kerry Foods contract, threatening up to 1,000 jobs at its Burton-upon-Trent factory unless the business can be replaced, has been branded ‘brutal’ by trade union Unite.

It was responding to news that the manufacturer had lost a major contract to supply Tesco with Indian and Oriental ready meals from the Burton facility.

“The contract has run for 19 years with no complaint about the service quality and delivery, which makes the Tesco decision all the more brutal,”​ said Unite regional officer Rick Coyle.

“Over the last three years, more than £20m has been invested in the Burton-on-Trent plant, making it one the most modern food production sites in the UK. This should give confidence to the workforce that new orders will be obtained.

“Unite will do all it can to work with management in the quest for new work at this premier site.”

Moving business ‘to another supplier’

“Regrettably, a major customer has confirmed it will be moving our chilled meals business, currently produced at our Burton site, to another supplier,” ​a Kerry spokesman told local publication Derbyshire Live.

“We have been working together for nearly two decades and, as one of the biggest employers to the local area, our first priority is to our people. We will continue to work with them and relevant suppliers in the near future as we explore other opportunities for our business.”

Impact on jobs

Kerry said it would not comment on the impact on jobs the loss of the contract would have, nor how much the deal was worth.

Commenting on the decision to change suppliers, a Tesco spokesperson said: “Following an extensive six- month review we have taken the decision to make changes to the supply chain for our Indian and Oriental ready meals.

“We remain absolutely committed to working in partnership with all our suppliers and will do all we can to support Kerry Foods during the transition process.”

Tesco said it would have a dedicated team working on the transition process over the next eight months and would work in partnership with the Kerry team to ensure a smooth transition for both businesses.

Terrorist attack

The loss of the Tesco contract isn’t the first time that Kerry’s Burton plant has been featured in the news this year. In January, a worker at the site was convicted of planning a terrorist attack​ and threatened the factory, according to police.

Meanwhile, more than 100 jobs are at risk at a food production plant in Ireland, after its UK-based owner announced plans to close the loss-making site.

Related topics: People & Skills, Chilled foods

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1 comment

The writing was on the wall

Posted by Ian,

Having worked for Kerry foods and watched them kiss Tesco’s butt for 10 years it comes as no surprise that this has happened,
Putting all your eggs in one basket is foolish to say the least and Tesco’s way of bullying suppliers beggars belief.
They promise the world then once your committed they pull the rug or screw you to the bone.

Suppliers beware?

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