Job losses as Bernard Matthews ditches chicken production and restructures head office

Bernard Matthews is to stop producing chicken to focus solely on turkey, and is also restructuring its head office at Great Witchingham in Norfolk.

The changes have resulted in around 150 job losses, 30 of which have been mitigated by moving staff to other roles within the business.

The poultry integrator was bought last autumn by Ranjit Boparan, the food magnate who also owns 2 Sisters Food Group, from private equity owners Rutland Partners, which stepped in after Bernard Matthews came close to collapse in 2013.

A Bernard Matthews spokesman said: “We have completed the process and explored all options available to us to mitigate job losses.

“After discussion with colleagues and union representatives the decision was taken to cease production of chicken and to restructure head office.

“These changes will enable the business to focus on what we’re best at and allow us to make things happen with agility and pace.”

Unite the union’s regional officer Steve Harley, who was involved in a consultation on behalf of members, said Bernard Matthews workers felt they had been misled. “Unite members felt very let down as senior representatives had indicated that investment would secure existing jobs and that there also existed the opportunity to attract more chicken business in to the site to utilise existing spare capacity. This has clearly not been realised and therefore many of those workers felt betrayed by that decision.

“Bernard Matthews has clearly suffered greatly from a lack of business direction whilst under the previous ownership of Rutland Partners and we remain hopeful that the new owners will work closely with Unite the Union to ensure both profitability and job security are treated with equal respect,” said Harley.




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