Readers' shock at early closure of Sheffield food factory and loss of 400 jobs

Star readers have expressed shock at the early closure of a Sheffield ready meals factory and dismay at 400 redundancies during lockdown.

Thursday, 23rd April 2020, 1:04 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th April 2020, 10:49 am

The Pennine Foods site in Beighton closes on Thursday, April 23, after the original May 21 closure date was brought forward due to ‘a decline in sales of ready meals due to the coronavirus crisis’.

Bosses launched a consultation in October saying the site was heavily loss-making. In January, they said production would be wound down from the end of March to mid-May to allow it to ‘explore all avenues including redeployment’ for staff.

On The Star’s Facebook site, Yvonne Waddington, said: ‘How can they shut a food company down? We all need to eat at this sad time’.

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Pennine Foods in Sheffield.

Paul Westerman said: ‘I don’t understand when people are finding it hard to find ready meals and are limited on what they can purchase. I would have thought it would have been kept open until these hard times were behind us! More jobs gone, loss of wages and the worries of what happens next. I do hope all the families well at this very sad time’.

Sandra Davies said: ‘So many hard-working people losing their jobs, and about to learn how awful the job market, and the world of Universal Credit, is. I wouldn't wish that on anyone’.

The facility on Drakehouse Crescent has been running despite the coronavirus lockdown. Employees were given two weeks’ notice of the change. Some 430 staff worked at the factory, 35 have found jobs at other company sites.

A Pennine Foods spokeswoman said workers would receive payment in lieu of notice covering the early closure period.

And they had been given an estimate of their redundancy based on their last 12 weeks’ salary. An exact figure would be available after they had finished.

She added: “We’re happy to field all individual colleague questions in relation to redundancy and further employment opportunities both now and after closure. If there are any outstanding queries, our HR and wages teams on site are here until the end of May if anyone has any queries.”

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