Pilgrim’s UK proposes closure of Ashton site, 542 roles at risk

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

The proposed closure of Pilgrim's UK Ashton puts more than 500 jobs at risk of redundancy
The proposed closure of Pilgrim's UK Ashton puts more than 500 jobs at risk of redundancy

Related tags Meat & Seafood

Meat processor Pilgrim’s UK has proposed plans to close its Ashton-under-Lyne site, putting 542 roles at the risk of redundancy.

The proposed closure is part of the manufacturer’s ongoing footprint review as it explores the best structure for long-term growth and development.

It follows a period of ‘significant challenge’ for the UK pork sector, which has seen the sow herd contract by 15% and loss-making farmers leaving the industry due to a sustained period of high production costs and lower pig prices.

Factory closures

The initial phase of Pilgrim’s UK’s footprint review included the closure of its Coalville site and the imminent closure of the Bury St Edmunds site,​as well as the introduction of a four-day week at Ashton in September 2022.

Rachel Baldwin, Pilgrim’s UK vice-president of Human Resources, said: “The decision to propose the closure of our Ashton site has not been taken lightly and we have made every effort to explore alternative options.

“A key part of our work to return to growth includes ensuring we fully optimise our operational footprint and the age and location of Ashton within a densely populated area means that there is no feasible opportunity to modernise or grow the site. As a result, these proposals are unfortunately essential to ensure a sustainable future for our team members across the UK.”

Transferring production

Existing operations will be transferred to Pilgrim’s facilities in Spalding, Westerleigh and Bromborough. The proposals will create 90 additional roles split between the three sites.

Pilgrim’s UK’s proposal to close its Ashton site followed a number of factory closure announced by food manufacturers since the start of the year.

As the end of March, Nestlé announced it will be closing the doors of its Caudry site​ in France following a fall in demand, one year on from an outbreak of E-coli.

Meanwhile, in February, 2 Sisters' consultation into the future of its Llangefni, Wales factory failed to bring forward any viable plans to maintain production at the site,​ according to the Welsh Government.

Related topics Meat, poultry & seafood Operations

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