The lamb processing business on the Island of Anglesey employs around 350 staff

The lamb processing business on the Island of Anglesey employs around 350 staff

Unite, the union representing workers at Vion's Welsh Country Foods facility, has said it will work "strenuously" on a business plan to save the 350 jobs at the site facing possible closure.

The Dutch food group Vion this morning (11 January) announced it may be forced to close the lamb processing business on the Island of Anglesey due to the loss of its contract with Asda. The troubled private-label pork producer that last month finalised an MBO deal for its UK arm, said Asda was a "key customer", accounting for around 50% of the site's business.

Unite described the announcement as "desperately sad".

"The news that Vion could shut its Welsh Country Foods site on Anglesey is a blow to those who work there, the local community and the economy of the island," said Unite Wales secretary Andy Richards.

"This is a sad start to 2013 for our members and we will be doing all we can to ensure both support and a viable future for Welsh workers at Welsh Country Foods. We need investment, not cuts to jobs in Wales and I will be raising this matter urgently with the Welsh Government."

Unite said it was urging Asda to "re-think" what the union said is a "misguided strategy" and to work with Vion to establish "a viable future for Welsh Country Foods and to save these jobs".

Vion employs around 8,000 staff across 30 facilities in the UK. The company, which put its UK business up for sale last month, has suffered from over-capacity in the meat sector. As a result, in October, it confirmed plans to close its Hall's of Broxburn processing facility having failed to find a "viable" buyer for the site.