Haughley/Stowmarket: Fears over town’s employment prospects if 2 Sisters food factory shuts

The 2 Sisters Food Group factory in Haughley Park

The 2 Sisters Food Group factory in Haughley Park - Credit: Archant

A workers’ representative said a town and its surrounding area could become an “unemployment blackspot” if the jobs of up to 700 people are lost at a factory.

Staff at the 2 Sisters Food Group roast chicken factory in Haughley Park, near Stowmarket, are in the early stages of negotiations with company bosses over the future of their jobs.

The company is proposing to close the site which employs almost 700 people.

Workers’ representative, Rowland Webb, 53, of Stowmarket, has been employed at the factory for 25 years.

He said if the company was to invest in the factory it could be saved.

Mr Webb said: “We hope to fight the closure to the end. We hope the company meets us half way and puts up some kind of fight for the site. This has come right out of the blue –it’s a big shock.

“I think we have got as good a chance as anyone in this situation –we might be able to minimise the impact in Stowmarket and the surrounding areas.”

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He said he feared Stowmarket would become a commuter town for people travelling to Norwich or London if the closure goes ahead.

News of the proposals came before Bosch announced “significant changes” to its Stowmarket factory with redundancies for up to 45 staff possible.

The factory, which employs more than 500 people, could also see a further 120 agency staff lose their jobs if their contracts are not renewed.

A spokesman for 2 Sisters Food Group said: “The company’s focus right now is to have meaningful conversations with all employees to explore all the possibilities.

“It will also work closely with external partners, such as the local authority, to minimise the impact of closure, if indeed this proposal is confirmed after the 45-day consultation.”

District councillor for Haughley and Wetherden, Rachel Eburne, has said Mid Suffolk District Council would do “all it could” to get employees jobs if the plant closes.

The company has argued the site is unsustainable and ageing. It will look to transfer jobs to its other sites in the region.