Pilgrims UK proposes closure of two factories with potential loss of over 600 jobs

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Pilgrim's closure plans could see more than 600 roles made redundant
Pilgrim's closure plans could see more than 600 roles made redundant

Related tags Supply chain Meat & Seafood

Pilgrim’s UK, the pork producer, is proposing to close its Bury St Edmunds and Coalville sites, as well as a shift to a four-day week at its Ashton plant, which could see the loss of 675 jobs.

Existing operations at Bury St Edmunds and Coalville will transfer to alternative Pilgrim’s UK sites at Corsham, Kings Lynn, Linton and Andover. 

These proposals will place around 290 employees at Bury St Edmunds, 350 employees at Coalville and 35 employees at Ashton at risk of redundancy. The business said it will enter into collective consultation with all impacted employees in the coming days, following the election of employee representatives.


During the consultation process, employees will have the opportunity to explore the options open to them, including applying to transfer to alternative sites within the Pilgrim’s UK network of manufacturing sites located throughout the UK.

Pilgrims UK revealed that over the last 18 months, the UK pig sector has faced the most challenging time in its history due to a combination of significant increases in production costs, falling pig prices across Europe and the UK, a decline in demand, labour shortages and the restrictions on the ability to export from some sites into key overseas markets.

The result was that Pilgrim’s UK recorded an operating loss of £16m for the year to 26th December 2021. 

Recovery plan

Pilgrims UK said that a key part of its business recovery plan includes ensuring that its operational footprint across the UK is fully optimised. As part of this process, it identified that some sites were “significantly under-utilised”​ in terms of operational capability and capacity. 

Rachel Baldwin, Vice President of HR for Pilgrim’s UK, said: “The decision to propose the closure of our Coalville and Bury St Edmunds sites and put a number of roles at risk at Ashton has not been taken lightly, but is unfortunately essential to help our business recover and secure a sustainable future for all of our team members across the UK.

“Clearly, this announcement will have major implications, not just for our sites, but the local communities surrounding them. We will do everything we can to minimise the impact of these proposals and work closely with local authorities and agencies to support our team members through what we know will be an extremely difficult period.”

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