The pork processor announced today (23 October) that it was starting the 45-day consultation process over proposals to cease production at the site, with 270 roles at risk of redundancy. The consultation period is expected to end on 9 December.
Unite regional officer Deborah Hopkins said: “This is another blow for Bodmin. Tulip used to be one of the primary employers in Bodmin and the local community will suffer greatly from these losses just before Christmas.
“This gives us a measure of the impact of continuing political and economic uncertainty in Cornwall, causing the ongoing shrinkage of our manufacturing economy. This is another shock wave to the already battered Cornish economy.”
In a statement, a spokesman for Tulip said: “Tulip Ltd can confirm that it has announced that it will be entering into consultation with employee representatives at its Bodmin facility over the future viability of the site.
‘Operating at significant loss’
“The site has been operating at a significant loss for several years and while it remains a well-invested site with industry-leading capabilities, it is unsustainable to maintain operations under the existing business model.
“Closure is not a foregone conclusion and Tulip Ltd is seeking to galvanize employees, customers and suppliers to coming together to agree a viable plan for the sustainable future of the site.
“However, unless we can secure a joint recovery plan with our strategic partners and employees, we cannot continue to operate while making such significant losses. Therefore, we have begun a 45-day consultation process over proposals to cease production at the site, potentially putting 270 roles at risk of redundancy. We expect the consultation period to end on 9th December 2019.”
The latest round of proposed redundancies reflected other job losses from food and drink processing across Cornwall, primarily in the middle and east of the county, at a time when wages were stagnating, said Hopkins. The problem was compounded by underemployment and in-work poverty, which were both escalating.
Hopkins said:”Bodmin has some of the poorest areas in the country so this further loss of work and incomes to the town are a cause of deep concern. The families in Bodmin affected by this will struggle to find work that provides security for their families and an income that will pay the bills.
“What we are seeing is workers being made redundant in the food processing sector and then they are shunted to another similar, often low paid, job – and then that site closes. It is a terrible downward spiral that erodes hope.
“Bodmin’s economy specifically and Cornwall’s more generally deserve investment and the opportunity to grow, rather than the current diet of declining incomes and lost jobs.”
Unite would continue to work with its members at Tulip to support them as they faced the job losses, added Hopkins. “We would welcome the opportunity for constructive talks with the management at Tulip to see what can be done to keep this plant operating.”
Tulip currently operates 17 factories across the UK, supplying top retail and foodservice customers. The latest job cut proposals at Bodmin follow the announcement last year of 150 job losses at the factory.
In March, red meat processor Kepak announced plans to close its St Merrynn Victoria site in Cornwall, putting 173 jobs at risk.