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Private-label manufacturer Bakkavor is hiring more than a 100 workers at a plant in Somerset in south-west England.

The desserts factory in the market town of Highbridge near Taunton is seeking to take on an additional 127 permanent staff ahead of Christmas in roles spread across production and logistics, including hygiene operatives and forklift truck drivers.

London-based Bakkavor sought to offer assurances over health and safety following recent incidences of Covid-19 among its workers at factories in Newark, Nottingham, and Spalding in Lincolnshire.

Shona Taylor, business director for Bakkavor Desserts, said in a statement: “Since the outbreak of Covid-19, we have adapted to unprecedented times and helped to maintain essential food supply at a critical time for the country and the economy. 

“We have raised our already high hygiene and safety standards to support colleagues in the workplace, the quality and breadth of which have been acknowledged by Public Health England.”

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By GlobalData

While Bakkavor is hiring in the south-west of England, the company said in August it was proposing to shut its salads site in the south-east, which would mean around 100 workers would lose their jobs at the facility in Alresford, Hampshire, if the plan goes ahead. 

That would be on top of the 500 employees at the Spalding plant if proposals announced in June to close the facility proceed.

Both decisions were put down to trading difficulties related to the pandemic.

Taylor added: “As we gear up for a busy Christmas period, we are delighted to be creating significant employment opportunities at a very challenging time for the local economy – and for people that have lost jobs in our community this year, we hope our new recruitment drive can help people to rebuild their lives and their careers before Christmas.”