MP seeks last ditch poultry jobs reprieve

Vion food factory, Thorne.
Vion food factory, Thorne.
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A LAST-ditch bid to save the jobs of workers at a Doncaster food factory has been launched by their local MP.

Caroline Flint, MP for Don Valley, also believes the Coalition Government should take steps to prevent the imminent closure of the Dutch-owned Vion Food factory in Coulman Street, Thorne.

The chicken processing plant is due to shut in August with the loss of over 250 jobs, after Vion announced its intention to concentrate production in North Wales and at its site in Perthshire, Scotland.

Ms Flint has met with Vion Food managers over the past two months to discuss saving jobs in Thorne, and she is still hoping a last-minute buyer can be found..

Said Ms Flint: “It is very sad that Vion can no longer support their factory in Thorne, which has a long history of producing chickens and other food we find on every major supermarket shelf each week.

“The company did state in their letter to me that they were ‘investigating alternative proposals’ and I took that to mean looking for potential buyers for the factory.

“I know they have had at least one firm offer from a firm in their industry and I am lobbying Vion Food UK to put the community and jobs first and strike a deal to keep this factory open.”

Ms Flint said the details of the firm involved and the offers made are confidential.

“I am not privy to the negotiations, and I know this is a commercial decision, but I think Vion Food has a responsibility to the many families from Thorne and Doncaster that have contributed to its success over the years. I also want Doncaster to retain the skills in food processing that this workforce has to offer.”

She has written to Ton Christiaanse, the chief executive of Vion Food UK to persuade the Vion Board to look at the closure again, and has also lobbied Business Secretary Vince Cable to intervene.

“The Government decided to wind up Yorkshire Forward who would normally step in to help where a major employer was going to be lost to our region. Now Yorkshire Forward is going, the Government cannot wash its hands of the problem when jobs are being lost. I hope Vince Cable steps up to the plate on this issue.”

The Star asked Vion Food to comment but they declined.