Bosses of doomed factory meet unions

BOSSES at a doomed Suffolk factory have agreed to look at alternatives to axing hundreds of jobs following a successful meeting with union representatives.

BOSSES at a doomed Suffolk factory have agreed to look at alternatives to axing hundreds of jobs following a successful meeting with union representatives.

It was the first time plans for the future of Grampian Country Pork's site in Elmswell, near Bury St Edmunds, had been properly discussed since the firm's shock announcement on Wednesday that the factory is to close in three months.

Although specific details of the options being looked at have not been released, both Grampian and the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) last night labelled the meeting a “success”.

Christine Henry, area organiser for USDAW, said new ideas had been brought to the table that had not previously been considered by Grampian.


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“During the meeting, we went through in detail the reasons behind the announced closure of the site, and why it was Elmswell specifically that had to close,” she said.

“But we also put an option to Grampian that we feel the company had not explored fully, which could lead to the site staying open.

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“Everything is still up for grabs at the moment. This is the very first stage of the three-month negotiation period and it is too early to say what is going to happen, but Grampian has agreed to go away and consider the proposals.

“There is another meeting taking place next week, and hopefully by then we will have a clearer idea of whether the factory will be completely closed, or whether we can save some jobs.”

The closure of the 42-acre site has been blamed on overcapacity in the food production industry. If the factory is shut down in June, it will mean nearly 400 people, including generations of Suffolk families, will lose their jobs.

Alasdair Cox, corporate communications controller at Grampian, said yesterday's discussions had been “full and frank”.

“We feel it was positive on both sides and we will be following it up next week with another meeting,” he added.

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