Fire hit bakery to remain closed, 160 jobs at risk

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

ABF said the fire damaged site would be too expensive to rebuild and reopen
ABF said the fire damaged site would be too expensive to rebuild and reopen

Related tags Bakery

Fire hit baker Speedibake has been deemed too costly to rebuild by owner Associated British Foods (ABF), putting about 160 jobs at risk.

The Wakefield site was ravaged by fire at the beginning of this month (February 1), resulting in significant damage.

In a statement, an ABF spokesman said the financial cost and time needed to undertake a full rebuild of the factory was “simply too greatto make it a viable option” ​and that the company was now entering consultation with members of staff affected by the blaze.

Exploring options

“Speedibake has operated from Wakefield since 1988, and we have carefully explored a number of options to try and keep the site open,”​ said the spokesman. “However, the fire completely destroyed two buildings and those that remained suffered significant structural damage.

“We know that this announcement will be deeply upsetting for many people and we give our absolute commitment that, if the proposals are accepted, we will support those affected to help them find alternative employment.”

Some of the workers at Speedibake are to be offered roles at ABF’s Bradford bakery, thanks to the transfer of a complete production line to the site. Talks are to be held at other ABF-owned businesses in the region to find placements for the rest of the affected employees.

Commitment to paying employees

Following the fire, we committed to pay everyone for a period of at least three months while we assessed the damage, though we have been mindful that we need to give people clarity as quickly as possible so that they can plan for the future​,” the spokesman added.

“In the meantime, we will continue to work with our employees through this period of consultation and have expressed to them our deep gratitude and pride in the manner they responded to the fire and its aftermath.”

Meanwhile, ABF has predicted sales and profit growth ahead of last year,​ despite the negative impact of falling sales at Allied Bakeries.

Related topics Bakery Operations

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