'A very worrying situation' - More than 400 jobs lost as factory confirms closure
PUBLISHED: 06:30 19 July 2019
More than 400 workers are set to lose their jobs after an Essex chicken factory confirmed it will be closing at the end of next month.
The 2 Sisters Food Group's poultry processing plant in Witham will shut down as the firm moves to cut underperforming sites.
The company, which also owns Fox's Biscuits, said around 100 of the 528 workers from the Freebournes Road site will be redeployed to other bases in the region.
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Witham MP Priti Patel labelled the closure "hugely disappointing" for the workers and wider area.
However, a 2 Sisters spokesman has said there was no alternative.
"It is with regret that we can confirm the closure of our poultry processing site in Witham", they said.
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"Unfortunately, we have been unable to identify a viable alternative to closure. We anticipate that final production will finish by the end of August.
"We have been able to redeploy around 100 colleagues to our other sites in the region, and more hard work will continue until the end of next month to help assist people with other local opportunities both within and outside our wider group.
The spokesman added: "We would like to reiterate that the tough decision to cease operations at Witham is no reflection on the colleagues at site who have been dedicated, loyal and hardworking, and we would like thank all for their professionalism during a very unsettling time."
2 Sisters operates a number of sites across the region, with factories in Thetford and Flixton.
Ms Patel added: "The closure is hugely disappointing, especially for the hundreds of people who work there and their families.
"I have met with the management and employee representatives and unfortunately it was clear for some time that the site was no longer viable and would not form part of the future of the business.
"I have urged 2 Sisters to support employees affected to find alternative employment, including other positions within the company.
"This is a very worrying situation for those employed at 2 Sisters and my thoughts are with them and their families at this difficult time."