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East Anglia Future 50

Jobs at risk as chicken factory closure revealed

PUBLISHED: 11:22 22 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:22 22 May 2019

Plans to shut down 2 Sisters Food Group poultry processing plant in Witham have been announced.  Photo Sarah Lucy Brown.

Plans to shut down 2 Sisters Food Group poultry processing plant in Witham have been announced. Photo Sarah Lucy Brown.

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Jobs are in danger at an Essex chicken factory after plans to close the underperforming site were announced in an ongoing cost-cutting strategy.

Plans to shut down 2 Sisters Food Group poultry processing plant in Witham have been announced.  Photo Sarah Lucy Brown.Plans to shut down 2 Sisters Food Group poultry processing plant in Witham have been announced. Photo Sarah Lucy Brown.

The 2 Sisters Food Group poultry processing plant in Witham faces the chop as the firm moves to cut loss-making sites.

While the number of potential job losses has not been revealed by the company, staff consultation is under way with the possibility of moving workers to other sites being explored.

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"We are all acutely aware that some of our plans, such as reducing our UK poultry footprint, brings uncertainty for colleagues, and it is with great regret that we have to make such proposals," said chief executive Ronald Kers.

"But the alternative of doing nothing and hoping for an upturn is not an option."

2 Sisters operates a number of sites across the region, with factories in Thetford and Flixton.

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And despite the planned closure the company said it will be investing in both its UK poultry business and Fox's Biscuits business.

Mr Kers added: "Our stated strategy is to become the number one poultry plus business in Europe and for several months now we have been engaged in a strategic review to facilitate our delivery on this, focussed on improving execution, reducing cost and building a better organisational culture.

"But there is now a pressing need to accelerate our turnaround so we can further increase the performance of our business.

"That is why we are keen to invest where we see potential growth, our UK Poultry business will benefit from this further investment and work which has already started to get Fox's Biscuits in shape for the future ramps up to the next level with some major investment around automation, marketing and product innovation."

Earlier this year 2 Sisters announced 250 jobs were at risk at a similar loss-making site in Staffordshire.

The move to cut costs so drastically is partially in response to reduce the debt incurred in the wake of the food hygiene scandal which rocked the firm in 2017.

An investigation by The Guardian revealed a number of food hygiene violations at its West Bromwich factory, including older birds being dumped in with fresh stock but given the same sell-by dates.

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