Food factory faces the axe

Vion Foods where 200 people may be made redundant
Vion Foods where 200 people may be made redundant
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A SHEFFIELD food factory is facing closure with the potential loss of more than 200 jobs with its operations to be moved to Scotland.

The J&J Tranfield plant on Orgreave Close, Handsworth is set to be axed by its Dutch parent company Vion.

The centre produces sausages, pizzas and other meat products for shops and other outlets and currently employs 205 people.

Vion is proposing its sausage processing business should be moved to Broxburn, West Lothian due to the ‘extremely challenging economic and trading climate’.

The company, which employs 27,000 people worldwide, has entered into a statutory 90-day consultation period in which alternatives will be investigated, including the possibility of workers transferring to other sites in the north of England.

Vion acquired a controlling interest in 2008 in Tranfield, a Sheffield-based company which was then the biggest sausage manufacturer in the country with seven plants and 1,300 staff.

But Vion says competition for business is ‘increasingly fierce’ with both its Handsworth and Broxburn plants operating significantly below capacity.

Broxburn is able to handle all Sheffield’s production as well as offering the potential for further expansion in the years ahead.

Steve Francis, managing director of Vion’s UK pork business unit, said: “We regret the need for these changes and have informed employees and their union representatives of our commitment to consult with them. We are intent that consultation will be as productive as possible, and we will be looking for every opportunity to mitigate against job losses.

“The business will be listening and investigating all alternative proposals and will take every step to support all employees during this difficult period. The commitment from the team at Sheffield has never been in question.”

Rob Smith, Vion’s group communications controller, added: “It’s an extremely competitive environment and the under-capacity isn’t sustainable.”

Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts said: “This is a Sheffield firm with a long history, but which was recently bought out. I will be contacting the company to talk through the options with management and the union, but I h ave to say it doesn’t look good.

“It’s a depressing situation for the workers going into the holiday. Hopes that cuts to the public sector will somehow be compensated for by new jobs in the private sector ring rather hollow.”