Blog: Heinz's predictable changes reach UK and Ireland
Dean Best | 22 August 2013
Just a week after announcing plans for job cuts in the US and Canada, Heinz has set out proposals to lay off almost 250 staff across its operations in the UK and Ireland. The moves have raised union hackles but were all but inevitable.
Heinz said yesterday it planned to cut 248 office jobs in the UK and Ireland as it sought to "streamline" the business to "better position" the business for "accelerated growth in a very competitive global market".
The US food giant said it "regretted" the impact the moves would have on staff and these will be uncertain times for the employees affected.
The UK trade union Unite called the news "devastating" and has pressed for talks with Heinz. "A nearly 10 per cent reduction in UK staff is savage, unnecessary and is putting profits before people," Unite national officer Rhys McCarthy said.
"Ruthless cost cutting to maximise returns is the hallmark of pirate privateers. We are now seeing it happening at Heinz which was bought out by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital venture capitalists for GBP18bn at the beginning of the year."
Heinz refused to be drawn on Unite's comments. There will be anger among some staff and their representatives but change was always on the cards.
There is always is when new owners take over any business and, looking at the track record of 3G and some of its previous investments, the private-equity fund has a laser focus on productivity and efficiency.
Heinz has said the moves will help it compete more effectively, with "faster decision making, increased accountability, and accelerated growth".
After the cuts on both sides of the Atlantic, we await with interest Heinz's next moves - and its plans for expansion worldwide that the company and 3G talked up when the takeover was announced in February.
Click here for a comment piece "Heinz's new owners make presence felt" that was published last week after the announcement of cuts in North America.
Danone completed its US$12.5bn acquisition of WhiteWave Foods this week. The move will roughly double Danone's presence in North America, where WhiteWave is a top four dairy player. ...
Thailand is set to introduce new laws to control marketing and promotions used for infant and toddler food....
Premier Foods plc revealed today (28 March) it has secured a deal with its pension scheme trustees that will see the UK food maker reduce its pension burden....
The restructuring team appointed to run Croatia's indebted food manufacturer and retailer Agrokor has said it investigating "potential errors" in the group's accounts....
Hain Celestial, under the scrutiny of the investment community in recent months and facing some challenges in its domestic market, has announced another shuffling of its management pack....
FrieslandCampina, which today served up higher profits but lower sales for 2016, is ready to offload the last non-dairy business owned by the Dutch cooperative giant....
- Danone's Q1: four things to learn
- Who will buy Danone's Stonyfield business?
- Nestle Q1 update: four things to learn
- Column: Why snacking is the new meal
- Interview: Sir Kensington's on sale to Unilever
- Tyson shops Sara Lee bakery, Kettle and Van's
- Nestle to cut UK confectionery jobs
- PepsiCo affirms full-year target as Q1 hits mark
- Tyson to buy burger-to-entree firm AdvancePierre
- Icelandic to sell Saucy Fish Co. owner Seachill