600 jobs at risk at Sheffield food factory as company consults on closure

Six hundred jobs could be lost at a Sheffield food factory where the owner has launched a consultation on whether to close the site.

Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 16:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 19:47 pm
Pennine Foods in Sheffield.

Ready-meal manufacturer 2Sisters said Pennine Foods in Beighton was heavily loss making and not-sustainable in the long term.

The company said a final decision had not yet been taken but Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts - in whose constituency the factory is situated - has said he plans to meet with senior executives at the company in the hope that job losses may be averted.

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A company spokesperson said: “Pennine Foods has undertaken a full strategic review of its business and has regrettably concluded its operation in Sheffield is not sustainable for the long-term.

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“The site continues to be heavily loss-making, and despite major investment in recent years, we are unable to reverse the situation.

“Therefore we are now consulting with colleagues on our proposals, which include potential closure of the site. However, we are committed to exploring the full range of options available to us before any final decisions are made.

“We do not take this decision lightly and fully understand the impact if this proposal goes ahead. Our primary focus now will be to support our colleagues and their representatives during the consultation process to ensure we reach the best possible outcome for all parties.”

Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts expressed his dismay at the shock announcement, which he said was all the more surprising given the factory’s recent multi-million pound refit.

He said: “This will be a bitter blow to the 600 employees and to the whole of the local community where many of them live.”

“I have spoken to senior people in the company and they say the plant is loss making and not sustainable. I’m absolutely amazed by this as only four years ago the company had a major review of its operations which I was briefed on. This then lead to a £38m refurbishment.

“I’m also aware that in the past long standing employees have taken cuts in their pay and conditions to help keep the plant operating. In this situation it’s difficult to understand how management can’t run the plant profitably when producing for the ready meals market.”

“I’m in close discussion with the Bakers Union who represent many of the permanent employees and I have arranged to visit the plant next week to meet senior executives. I’ll be exploring and putting on pressure to look at every possible option to save the plant and the people’s jobs.”