Kerry Foods, in Burton, is to close with the loss of 900 jobs. Unite, the union, has said that the move is ‘a calamity for the town’.
The closure of the business has been attributed to its loss of a contract with Tesco which accounted for 90 per cent of its business.
Unite pledged that it would ‘leave no stone unturned’ in supporting the workforce in seeking alternative employment and had already been in touch with brewer Molson Coors, which is the town’s second largest employer, regarding employment opportunities.
Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said: “This is a calamity for Burton as Kerry Foods is the town’s biggest employer. It is heart breaking for the workforce, their families and, more widely, a crushing blow for the regional economy.
“The closure is a result of Kerry Foods losing the contract to supply supermarket giant Tesco’s with ready-made meals, which was 90 per cent of its business. Kerry Foods tried to find alternative markets and customers, but to no avail.
“The problem going forward is that there are not that many well paid jobs in Burton and the vicinity to replace those that will be lost at the end of August.
“We have been in touch with Molson Coors to explore employment opportunities there. Also, we will help arrange a jobs fair at the site and assist our members with their CVs and advice on updating their skills.
“We will be meeting the management on Friday (28 June) to discuss an enhanced redundancy package for our members. We will leave no stone unturned to help our members in the days and weeks ahead.
“This is a very sad day for Burton and the end of an era.”