Meat giant plans factory closure with 260 jobs at risk

Credit: Pilgrims UK

Pilgrim’s Food Masters has announced that it will close another UK factory, impacting 260 jobs.

The Warwick-headquartered UK operations of US meat giant Pilgrim’s Pride will make redundancies at its Dean Way site in Southall, west London and has now entered a statutory 45-day consultation with staff.

The producer of chilled and frozen ready-meals for supermarkets already put 220 jobs at risk at another London site last year.

It now plans to consolidate Dean Way into two other locations – one on Windmill Lane in Southall and another in Attleborough in eastern England.

In a statement, Pilgrim’s said: “Over the past few years, we have been working hard to transform our meals business, which has seen us secure long-term customer contracts, increase our product offering and improve our operational efficiencies.

“Despite our best efforts, we are continuing to face industry challenges and lower-than-expected market volumes. In light of these market conditions – and in order to ensure business continuity and protect jobs – we have had no choice but to review the shape of our business.

“Following a thorough assessment, we have identified ways to maximise the capacity across our sites and are proposing to consolidate our total ready meals volume into Attleborough and Windmill Lane. This unfortunately means the proposed closure of our Dean Way site.”

The business, majority-owned by Brazil-based meat giant JBS said that it will be “supporting all those affected throughout this process and our intention is to redeploy colleagues to our neighbouring sites wherever possible”.

Gavin Davies, GMB senior organiser, said: “GMB has serious concerns about how this will impact on our members and the local community with the job losses.”

It comes a year after 1,000 employees at another site were threatened with fire and rehire tactics.

Pilgrim’s Pride employs around 60,000 people worldwide and 5,500 of that number are based in the UK.