Foyle Food Group has proposed to close its factory in Cookstown on or by the end of August 2019. It hoped to redeploy the 82 workers employed at the site among its other facilities.
A company spokesman said the decision to close the site was a necessary part of the group’s consolidation of its operations across its larger and more modern UK facilities.
“Focusing processing at these sites will allow the group to remain a market-leader within the competitive red meat sector,” the spokesman added.
Impact on the workforce
“We understand the impact that this proposal will have on our Cookstown workforce. Consultation with staff will begin immediately and we hope to redeploy as many as possible to our other plants.”
Mid Ulster Democratic Unionist Party member Keith Buchanan met with management at the Cookstown site earlier this week to discuss the “devastating news”.
“Foyle Food Group is a successful company; therefore, this announcement is disappointing for the Cookstown area,” said Buchanan. “The news will be felt most acutely with the employees and it is important that we work together with the employees, senior management and any other relevant agencies to secure the best possible outcome.”
Cookstown Ulster unionist councillor Trevor Wilson described the news as “complete bombshell” to the local area.
Foyle Food Group has operated in Northern Ireland for more than 40 years and currently employs 1,300 people across the UK and Ireland.
The group’s eight other processing plants, across five sites in the UK and Ireland, were unaffected by this proposal, Foyle said. Customers and suppliers were also unaffected by the planned closure, it added.
Meanwhile, 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.