Vion restructure puts up to 820 jobs under threat.



Up to 820 jobs are at risk at Vion after the meat producer announced a restructure of its UK business.

The Dutch food giant said the competitive marketplace and over-capacity in the UK meat sector had prompted the restructure of its abattoir and sliced cooked meats operations at the Malton and Haverhill pork processing plants.

Haverhill's abattoir, butchery and part of the retail operations will be closed, with operations switched to Malton, while the cooked meats operations based at Malton will be moved to Haverhill.

The restructure would allow Haverhill to focus on cooked meats and Malton to concentrate on fresh pork and bacon production, said Vion. These would become "centres of excellence" that were better placed to meet market demands and optimise production, it added, confirming that redundancies at both plants were a possibility. "Due to competitive pressures from the marketplace, we must continually look to optimise our production facilities to ensure sound foundations for the development of our UK business," said corporate affairs director Alasdair Cox. "In creating dedicated facilities at Malton and Haverhill, we will also be investing in both plants to build the business."

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Vion also revealed that it had lost a significant part of its M&S business after the retailer re-allocated some deli and ready meals business to other suppliers.

The news meant the Vion Cambuslang operation in Scotland was also facing job losses.

Production of M&S goods would be reduced over a year, said Cambuslang MD Martin Phillips, with M&S having committed to maintaining just under half of the site's previously supplied volumes. "We are all disappointed by the loss of business, but feel that all parties working together will ensure the site remains an ongoing manufacturing facility," Phillips said.

Vion's announcement follows last week's news that turkey specialist Bernard Matthews was cutting up to 130 jobs.

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