December 6 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Around 30 jobs are under threat at a sugar packaging plant in Bury St Edmunds.
Silver Spoon, which is owned by Associated British Foods (ABF) employs around 118 staff at the site, but its sugar products face tough competition from rivals.
It is understood that the sugar firm has lost a major contract with a supermarket giant.
The company told staff at the Bury plant last week about the proposed redundancies and has now begun a consultation process with staff. It says it will do what it can to redeploy affected employees in other roles. Around 10 management roles at its headquarters in Peterborough are also affected.
Silver Spoon packages sugar which is produced in East Anglia and is supplied via one of its sister companies, British Sugar, which is also owned by ABF but belongs to an entirely separate arm of the organisation and has four plants across East Anglia including one next door to the Silver Spoon site at Bury St Edmunds but these are unaffected. Other Silver Spoon sites, including at Ipswich and Bishop Stortford, are also unaffected.
A spokesman said the Silver Spoon Company Ltd was operating in “a very competitive market”, but the company was striving to save as many jobs as possible.
He said the firm had “announced proposals to make changes to a number of operational areas within its business as part of a long-term competitive review”.
“The company is currently operating in an exceptionally challenging market place and needs to re-structure its business in order to adapt to the changing requirements of its customers,” he explained.
“These proposals will affect a limited number of roles located across two business areas in Central Office, based in Peterborough, and at one of our production sites in Bury St Edmunds. These proposals do not relate to British Sugar’s wider production facility at Bury St Edmunds, and The Silver Spoon Company’s other sites in Bardney, Bishop Stortford, Aylesbury and Ipswich are likewise unaffected.”
Silver Spoon managing director Martin Brewis said: “We are now undertaking a formal consultation regarding these proposals. We understand this will be a difficult period of time for some of our employees and their families, and will be working our way through a formal process to support those at risk of redundancy.
“We are actively looking for ways that we can minimise the impact of any job losses resulting from this consultation including exploring opportunities to re-deploy some of those impacted across the wider network of businesses owned by Associated British Foods. However, we have to respond proactively to changing market conditions and take difficult decisions that ultimately will ensure our business is on a sure footing for future success.”
The company went on to say that it anticipated that approximately 30 roles would be lost under the proposals within Bury St Edmunds, as well as around 10 roles in its central office.
Silver Spoon, which produces a range of baking ingredients, also employs 89 staff at its Billington’s cane sugar operation in Ipswich, which packs sugar from Mauritius, and 63 at Bishops Stortford, where it has a flour operation which packages Allinson Flour and own label. Neither of these sites are affected.