Jobs saved at turkey farmers

Sam WilliamsFEWER jobs than feared have been lost at turkey farmer Bernard Matthews after the company announced plans to shift some operations from a Norfolk plant.Sam Williams

FEWER jobs than feared have been lost at turkey farmer Bernard Matthews after the company announced plans to shift some operations from a Norfolk plant.

Last month, bosses warned that 90 roles were at risk this spring

at its Great Witchingham factory under plans to move frozen whole bird production to Holton, Suffolk.

But following a 30-day consultation, that figure has been reduced to the 'mid-60s' after some staff agreed to transfer to the Suffolk plant and others retired or left the company.


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The relocation, which is aimed at improving efficiency in the loss- making frozen whole bird division, is also expected to result in a second wave of up to 70 additional redundancies in early 2011 when the move will take place, but it is hoped that number can also be reduced.

A Bernard Matthews spokesman said: 'Following the completion of the first phase of the consultation, the business is able to make fewer redundancies than was initially predicted.

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'This is due to employees transferring to our Holton site from Great Witchingham, staff leaving or people taking early retirement.

'We will continue to work with the unions and staff to ensure that the business retains as many of its existing staff as possible.'

The workers whose roles have been made redundant have also been offered work until after Easter.

Bernard Matthews, one of region's biggest employers, is currently halfway through a

four-year strategy aimed at delivering profitable growth at the company.

The business saw a small operating profit of �857,000 in 2008 following a �9.6m operating loss the previous year.

Ivan Crane, regional organiser for the union Unite, said: 'We are still in discussions with the company and we are hopeful that at the end of the exercise the number of redundancies will be less than first thought.'

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