Stowmarket: Community would be left devastated if 700 jobs go from 2 Sisters chicken factory

The company's factory in Flixton

The company's factory in Flixton - Credit: © EDP pics 2004

A community would be left ‘devastated’ if up to 700 jobs go from a roast chicken factory.

Proposals to close the factory in Haughley Park, near Stowmarket, have been put forward by the owners, 2 Sisters Food Group.

The company has said the factory is “ageing” and faces “many challenges” to remain sustainable.

Workers at the site include 440 people directly employed there with about 250 agency staff.

Gary Green, county councillor for Stowmarket and Stowupland said: “The factory has been there for as long as I can remember and I have had family members work there. The bus goes from Stowmarket everyday for the people who work there. It is a very big employer in the area.”

He said he had concerns workers would struggle to pay the fuel needed to get to the company’s other sites, if they were redeployed.

John Matthissen, district councillor for nearby Onehouse, said: “It’s a hard blow because it does take out a very large amount of semi-skilled jobs which are relativity thin on the ground. There’s a lot of people who come from Stowmarket, that’s where a lot of them live. One would be wondering what the effect would be on the poultry suppliers.”

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The district council will be meeting the company’s managing director today to discuss the proposals.

Suffolk County and district councillor for Elmswell and Norton, Jane Storey, said: “Some of the workers come off the train at Elmswell so it’s close to me. It would be devastating if the factory closes and they cannot make a go of it. If they cannot, it’s unlikely anyone else could do. It’s very sad, it’s quite an old site – I worked there 15 years ago – even then it was fairly old.”

A consultation period is set to start with workers and the company has said it would look to redeploy staff at other regional sites including in Flixton, Thetford and Eye.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “Jobcentre Plus and its partners will support the workers at the firm through The Consultancy Home Counties Ltd, an organisation which helps businesses and individuals in these circumstances, across the Greater South East England.

“TCHC will work with Jobcentre Plus along with other partners, such as the Careers Service to determine the level of support required. This could include jobsearch and vocational training for workers to help them find alternative work.”