Bury St Edmunds: British Sugar warns of threat to jobs

BRITISH Sugar has announced that it is reviewing around 16 jobs involved with packing, storing and distributing its products across its four factories.

The sugar supplier, which has factories at Bury St Edmunds, Wissington, near Downham Market, and Cantley, near Great Yarmouth, both in Norfolk, and Newark, in Nottinghamshire, said it was reviewing operations in the finished products area of the business.

A British Sugar spokesman said the company had informed staff of “proposals to review a number of operations within our Finished Products area of the business, as we continuously evolve as a business to remain competitive within a challenging market place and adaptable to the changing requirements of our customers.”

The company said that the proposals could affect up to 16 roles across its four processing plants.

The spokesman added: “We are working closely with our employees as we enter formal consultation discussions regarding these proposals and it is hoped that we are able to re-deploy some of those affected, as there are a number of alternative positions available within British Sugar.”

Earlier this year, workers at British Sugar, which is part of the Associated British Foods group, reluctantly accepted an increase in their salaries to end a pay dispute.

Unite Union’s 250 members decided to accept the offer of a 3.5% rise after there was a lack of support for strike action, despite an initial vote in favour of industrial action.

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Had the workers voted to walk out, it would have been the first time in 30 years that British Sugar faced strike action and would have heavily impacted the start of the sugar beet campaign.

Members had wanted a pay deal in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI), currently running at 5.2%, plus 0.5% for the year April 2011 to April 2012.