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Trade union calls for 'urgent' meeting to save 600 jobs ahead of factory closure

PUBLISHED: 14:14 23 May 2019 | UPDATED: 14:19 23 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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A trade union is calling for an 'urgent meeting' after it was announced up to 600 jobs are at risk at an Essex chicken factory.

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 announced plans to shut down its poultry processing plant in Witham as it moves to cut loss-making sites.

Staff consultation is under way with the possibility of moving workers to other sites being explored.

The revelation has prompted trade union Unite to step in and demand a meeting to negotiate the best possible future for workers.

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Unite regional office Michelle Cook said: "The announcement that the 2 Sisters Food Group plans to shut its poultry processing plant at Witham, Essex is grim news for the 600-strong workforce and, more generally, for the Essex economy.

"Unite is seeking an urgent meeting with the management to clarify the implications of what is proposed.

"Our first priority will be our members at this very worrying time for them and their families. We will be seeking to avoid compulsory redundancies and explore opportunities for redeployment to other 2 Sisters' sites across the region during the consultation period."

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

The group's chief executive Ronald Kers said the company regretted having to make plans to close the site.

He said: ""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."

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

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