Final day for factory staff

STAFF at a Needham Market factory were today facing an uncertain future as the first wave of job losses kicked in.Around 20 workers at Unilever Bestfoods, in High Street, Needham Market, were completing their final day of work at the plant today.

STAFF at a Needham Market factory were today facing an uncertain future as the first wave of job losses kicked in.

Around 20 workers at Unilever Bestfoods, in High Street, Needham Market, were completing their final day of work at the plant today.

A further 20 will also lose their jobs, but these will be staggered over the coming weeks.

Alastair Joyce, plant manager, admitted it was a sad day but said great emphasis had been placed on ensuring the staff had the relevant skills to move on.

"A lot of people have been with us man and boy so one thing we had to ensure was that they had the relevant skills to find a new job, he said.

"We've come up with a training package to support the people losing their jobs."

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The decision to axe the jobs at the Needham Market operation was first announced last August, with losses focused on the dry mixing department.

The decision was taken to consolidate the business at its Manchester factory by Dutch parent company, CSM.

Unilever had previously sold its bakery business to CSM in 2000, with the Needham Market factory contracted to supply about 10,000 tonnes of dry mix. It also produces Elmlea cream.

It is thought about 60 other employees will continue to be based in the Suffolk town as a scaled down operation continues.

Mr Joyce added the impact of the job losses would not solely be focused on Needham Market, as many of the workers came from the surrounding areas.

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