Weetabix will make 30 roles at its Northamptonshire sites redundant in response to increasing pressure from supermarket own-label products and the discounters, it has announced.
The cereal manufacturer has been in consultation with staff since April and said this is the first time the company has called for voluntary redundancies since 2007.
Giles Turrell, ceo of Weetabix, said: “We’re one of Northamptonshire’s leading employers and committed to our local community.
‘Seven years since last redundancies’
“It is seven years since we last offered voluntary redundancies and with the support of our trade union, we’re hopeful this route will prove least disruptive to our colleagues,” added Turrell.
In April, a Weetabix spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk the company was involved in discussions with staff and talking about shift patterns and pay changes.
At the time, Weetabix said it wanted to avoid redundancies within its 2,000-strong workforce and would try to save the millions of pounds needed by reducing working hours.
The announced voluntary redundancies followed calls from unions two years ago to safeguard jobs at Weetabix, when 60% of the company was sold to the Chinese firm Bright Food by London private equity firm Lion Capital.
Weetabix was family-owned until 2004, before Lion Capital bought it in 2011.
Develop and grow the business
At the time, Bright Food made statements to the union Unite and the Union Shop of Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw) confirming it would develop and grow the business, which would lead to greater security.
In a joint statement with Unite, Usdaw deputy Midlands divisional officer Gavin Dadley said: “We have spoken to Weetabix to seek assurance about our members’ jobs and conditions of service and have been assured by the company that it is very much business as usual.”
However, only last month, Weetabix also put up to 60 jobs at its industrial hygiene departments at risk by bringing in an external firm to carry out the industrial cleaning at its Burton Latimer and Corby sites.
Although the staff were assured the third party would maintain their jobs, an Usdaw spokesman said: “Usdaw representatives will be entering into a full and meaningful transfer of undertakings consultation process with Weetabix, as a consequence of their decision to outsource the industrial hygiene specialist department.”