Copella fruit farm axes 40 jobs

EMPLOYEES have been warned to brace themselves for the full force of the credit crunch after a Suffolk company which has achieved worldwide recognition axed a third of its workforce.

EMPLOYEES have been warned to brace themselves for the full force of the credit crunch after a Suffolk company which has achieved worldwide recognition axed a third of its workforce.

Bosses at Copella fruit farm, which prides itself on employing local staff, yesterday announced it would be making 40 people redundant as a direct result of the “current economic environment”.

While the renowned multinational company which owns the factory in Boxford, near Sudbury, pledged to help affected staff find new jobs, community leaders were less convinced.

South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo, whose constituency covers the site, warned the news was a “sign of the times” as it was revealed that the UK's unemployment rates has risen by the highest in 17 years - to 1.79million.


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Mr Yeo told the EADT: “The economy is moving into recession and this will be a huge blow to the local area which is rightly proud of Copella being a great success story and achieving worldwide recognition.

“This is a sign of what we are facing now and it is a personal tragedy for the people losing their jobs but it won't be the last time we hear of a company laying off people.

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“The job prospects in the country are worse than they have been for decades and, coupled with the slowdown in the housing market, it is a time of real anxiety.”

Yesterday's announcement by PepsiCo, which owns Copella, is in stark contrast to the start of the year when the Boxford firm had expansion plans approved by Babergh District Council.

Despite fears over the environmental impact the proposals could have, bosses at Boxford Farm - situated in the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) - claimed it would create 75 jobs and almost double staffing levels within ten years.

A PepsiCo spokesman said: “In the light of the current economic environment, we have undertaken a strategic review of our businesses. The conclusions included a number of areas to reduce costs, through productivity and by working with our business partners.

“We have also taken the difficult decision to reduce staffing levels, resulting in around 70 roles becoming redundant. These roles are across a number of locations, levels and functions.

“At Boxford, we have been forced to simplify our manufacturing operations, which include ceasing production on one of the lines. Regrettably that will mean around 40 roles will become redundant.

“We will be working with colleagues affected by this decision to help them find new jobs within the company, or to help them search for alternative employment.”

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