The move followed a consultation period with staff at the “loss-making” site that started in March this year. At the time, 2 Sisters said the job cuts were part of a major investment plan to promote growth and commercial opportunities at Fox’s.
A total of 111 members of staff have been made redundant, with the majority of these staff members opting for voluntary redundancy, while 34 people were made compulsorily redundant. This was less than half of the 250 jobs that were initially threatened with redundancy earlier this year.
Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said: “We’ve worked closely with management to save jobs and keep compulsory redundancies as low as possible.
“With 33 compulsory redundancies out of 241 proposed job cuts, this is a better outcome than anyone expected. Unite’s help for members has positively protected and supported East Staffordshire’s wider economy.”
The redundancies at the Uttoxeter site mark the latest development in an ongoing narrative surrounding the future of Fox’s Biscuits at 2 Sisters Food Group.
In response to the release of 2 Sisters’ fourth quarter financial results last week, a number of analysts have weighed in on the prospect of a Fox’s sale.
One unnamed analyst said that rumours surrounding the sale of the biscuit brand were likely to continue as the firm sought to raise cash.
“They [2 Sisters] reported today that they have drawn down £78m from their revolving credit facility, which is the first time they have used that,” he explained. “If, for example, they have £100m on the balance sheet, you have to question whether that will be enough. Our view is that they may use that up over the next year or so.
‘Last asset they can sell’
“Therefore, Fox’s is the last asset they can really sell, unless you consider some of their European poultry businesses, but I can’t see them getting rid of those unless it’s an emergency.”
However, Shore Capital head of research Clive Black warned that 2 Sisters would struggle to offload Fox’s in the coming months.
He stressed that with the biscuit category was undergoing “considerable structural challenge and change”, and it was not clear who would be willing to step up to the plate at this stage, leaving the firm facing an uphill challenge to deliver its goals.