December 10 2013 Latest news:
Monday, September 30, 2013
Union bosses have been given more time to scrutinise the accounts of a company which could lay-off almost 700 workers.
The finances of the 2 Sisters Food Group in Haughley Park, near Stowmarket, are being examined by the union Usdaw.
Last month the company announced its intention to close the site as it was “unsustainable”.
Adam Skwierawski, area organiser for Usdaw, said the original 45-day consultation had been extended “indefinitely”.
He said: “The consultation will not be another month but it will take as long as it takes so we have been consulted with.
“It’s not about having concerns – we have approached meetings with an open mind – it allows us to scrutinise the claims made by the company.
“By our next meeting on October 10 we will be somewhat the wiser to the financial situation of the site and will be able to confirm that it’s a loss making site and that the employer’s claims are accurate.”
Company bosses have also met with councillors from Mid Suffolk District Council and the local MP David Ruffley.
The MP for Bury St Edmunds said: “There’s a mixture of migrant workers, there’s a lot of hard shift work.
“There’s also a number of long standing employees who have been working there, some for up to 30 years.
“It’s been a big source of local employment for three decades.
“There’s concern from part of the workforce who are unconvinced by the argument that the site is not economically viable.
“We do not know how many of the workers will be offered alternative employment in the region – that’s what I’m pressing on.”
The company has said it will look to redeploy staff in other sites in Thetford, Eye, Flixton and Witham.
Nick Murray, spokesman for 2 Sisters Food Group, said the consultation extension would give workers more time to get the relevant facts.
He said: “We will continue to work with all the workers and stake holders and the local authority fully.”
The company was legally obliged to offer the 45 day consultation which had been due to end on Wednesday.
The company employs about 440 workers with 250 being agency workers at the site.