500-plus jobs go as Tulip plant is axed

UK - A community's worst fears were confirmed last night after it emerged a Norfolk meat processing factory will close in two months with the loss of more than 500 jobs.
calendar icon 9 July 2007
clock icon 3 minute read
Tulip announced in the spring that it was planning to end its fresh pork and Danepak bacon packing operations in Thetford after more than 40 years. The multi-national company, part of the Danish Crown group, yesterday revealed it had been unable to find a viable alternative to closing the plant and will complete the transfer of production to other UK sites by the end of September.

Union officials spoke of their "disappointment" after reluctantly agreeing to a redundancy package, which will see up to 350 full-time workers out of a job on September 14.

Peter Judge, managing director of Tulip's North East Division, yesterday said that the company and unions had left "no stone unturned" during a 90-day consultation period, but the Thetford operation had been "inefficient for several years".

He added: "This is a very sad day for everyone involved in the Thetford site and I do appreciate the impact this news will have on our very loyal and dedicated work force."

Miles Hubbard, regional industrial organiser for the Transport and General Workers' (T&G) section of the Unite Union, said its members had voted 119 to 40 in favour of an enhanced redundancy package half the value of a long-standing deal withdrawn by Tulip earlier in the year.

He added that the union had presented "sustainable" alternatives for the Thetford site following a series of public demonstrations, but "conceded" to closure after it became "very apparent that Danish Crown was determined to shut it."

The fresh pork and bacon packing lines will be transferred to the West Country. Tulip's UK headquarters will move to Tipton in the West Midlands, with 90 employees staying at Thetford with the cooked bacon processing plant.

Source: EDP24
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