Factory closure leaves 250 jobless

NEARLY 250 workers will begin their search for new jobs next week following the closure of one of west Suffolk's biggest and oldest factories.Production at Grampian Country Pork in Elmswell, originally founded as Farm Kitchen Foods in 1911, ceased yesterday.

NEARLY 250 workers will begin their search for new jobs next week following the closure of one of west Suffolk's biggest and oldest factories.

Production at Grampian Country Pork in Elmswell, originally founded as Farm Kitchen Foods in 1911, ceased yesterday.

Reactions of staff to the closure ranged from tears and sadness to quiet resignation and a sense of anti-climax.

Described as a “catastrophe” by union leaders, staff at the once-thriving food factory were called to a meeting with management in the canteen yesterday morning.


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They were thanked for their hard work before being given “doggy” bags of leftover foodstuffs.

Of the 380 workers, it has emerged 243 staff have not found new jobs - despite efforts by staff and organisations to find new work for redundant staff.

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Margaret Clarke, 62, who served with the firm for 29 years, said: “It was a really awful morning. There were lots of tears.”

Mrs Clarke, who is also chairman of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw) union at the factory, said: “There are 243 people who have not got any work. There is no work in this area. Most of these people are factory workers who have worked hard, shown their commitment and ability but do not have qualifications.”

She added she hoped businesses across west Suffolk could help by thinking of the now redundant former Grampian workers when job vacancies emerge.

Former worker Chris May, who was joined for a final drink by colleagues at The Fox pub, said: “It was a credit to everybody who worked there that we left with total dignity. It is the end of an era.

“It has been a bit surreal. It is not how you would expect it to be. I don't feel it has left an impression on us - perhaps because we've had it hanging over our heads for so long.”

Fellow worker Marie Mahmood said: “Everybody has been expecting this for some time.”

A spokesman for Grampian Country Foods said the firm had nothing to add to statements it had already made in the past about the factory's closure.

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