IRELAND/UK: ABP Food to close UK sausage arm Freshlink
Freshlink is one of the largest private label frozen sausage suppliers in the UK retail market
Ireland-based food processor ABP Food Group is to close its Freshlink Foods sausage production facility in Glasgow, affecting 150 jobs.
The closure, the company said, results from "an internal competitiveness driven restructuring" of Freshlink Foods and a sister facility within the group to which the business is being relocated.
Production and technical equipment from the facility is expected to relocate to its Dalepak Foods site in Northallerton in Yorkshire in a phased process over the coming weeks and months, the company said.
Freshlink is one of the largest private-label frozen sausage suppliers in the UK retail market, producing around 120 varieties of sausage and a range of frozen formed grill steaks for both retail and foodservice customers.
A spokesperson for ABP Foods said discussions over the closure of the facility have been "going for some considerable time", with a 90-day consultation period having started in June.
A decision, however, has now been made that production will cease fully at the facility early next year.
ABP informed workers and their union Usdaw of the decision on Friday.
Usdaw deputy divisional officer Stewart Forrest said it was "devastating news" for the workforce and a "real body blow" to a community it says is already suffering from high unemployment.
"Usdaw has worked closely with the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council and Clyde Gateway to table several counter proposals and we've had tremendous backing from local Labour MP Margaret Curran and local councillor Frank McAveety," Forrest said. "To say we're bitterly disappointed that ABP has chosen to dismiss these proposals and proceed with transferring production south of the border is an understatement.
"It is an extremely sad day, but our focus must now turn to putting into place the best possible support to help our members find alternative employment and of course to securing a redundancy package from ABP that properly reflects the commitment and contribution our members have made to the success of the company over many years."
In response to the union claims, the spokesperson for ABP told just-food the company had spent "a great deal of time considering all options".
"We worked with a task force that was set up with the Scottish government and local politicians, and we considered all the options but in the end we couldn't find a solution to the problem and we decided that closure was the only option."
The company said in a statement: "It is with great regret that this decision has been taken ... the relocation of production to an existing site within the group had a substantially lower funding requirement than all of the other options considered."
As part of the consultation process, employees will be given "assistance and support", the company said, as they seek alternative employment, to include other opportunities within the wider group.
ABP operates 12 production facilities in the UK and a further eight across Europe, including the Republic of Ireland and Poland.
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