Brewer offers help as hundreds of Kerry jobs go

By Rod Addy contact

- Last updated on GMT

Kerry Foods supplies own-label products to a range of retailers, including all the top supermarkets
Kerry Foods supplies own-label products to a range of retailers, including all the top supermarkets

Related tags: Chilled foods, Recruitment

Molson Coors has offered a lifeline to the 900 workers set to lose their jobs at Kerry Foods’ Burton-Upon-Trent ready meals factory as it prepares to close at the end of August.

Adam Firby, HR director at the internationally renowned brewer, which also operates a facility at Burton-Upon-Trent and is the town’s second-biggest employer after Kerry Foods, stated: “We have a long history in Burton, care about our community and share in the concerns of those impacted by this announcement.

“We have been in touch with representatives of the trade union at Kerry Foods and will be reaching out to their HR team to see how we can work with them to raise awareness of vacancies at Molson Coors in Burton.”

Rick Coyle, regional officer at trade union Unite, who called the plant closure “a calamity for Burton”​, said: “We have been in touch with Molson Coors to explore employment opportunities there. Also, we will help arrange a jobs fair at the site and assist our members with their CVs and advice on updating their skills.

‘No stone unturned’

“We will be meeting the management on Friday (28 June) to discuss an enhanced redundancy package for our members. We will leave no stone unturned to help our members in the days and weeks ahead.”

The threat to Kerry Foods’ facility surfaced in October last year, when it emerged that it had lost a major chilled ethnic meals contract with Tesco, which represented most of its business​.

Coyle said: “It is heart-breaking for the workforce, their families and, more widely, a crushing blow for the regional economy.

'Alternative markets'

“Kerry Foods tried to find alternative markets and customers, but to no avail. The problem, going forward, is that there are not that many well-paid jobs in Burton and the vicinity to replace those that will be lost at the end of August.”

In a statement on the factory closure, a spokeswoman for Kerry Foods said: "On Monday Kerry Foods announced that we propose to cease operations at our production facility in Burton, from the start of September notwithstanding continuing efforts to find alternative solutions for the site. The company would like to extend a sincere thank you to all our Burton colleagues for their hard work and commitment and our priority now is to support all employees affected during this time."

Kerry Foods brands include Richmond sausages, Wall's and Mattessons and it supplies chilled own-label products to a range of retailers, including all the top supermarkets.

Related topics: Chilled foods, People & Skills

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