Discussions are expected to result in a reduction of around 55 employees

Discussions are expected to result in a reduction of around 55 employees

UK poultry processor Bernard Matthews Farms is in talks to potentially make around 55 job cuts.

The news comes just a week after CEO Noel Bartram stepped down as CEO and former boss David Joll was named executive chairman.

A spokesperson for Bernard Matthews said it had started a consultation process with staff at its Great Witchingham cooked meat site in Norfolk. Discussions are expected to result in a reduction of around 55 employees out of a workforce of 2,100.

The company says the cuts are required in order to make the business "as efficient as possible" and ensure a "sustainable" future for the whole workforce.

"As a company we are under intense pressure from external cost factors, such as the global price of grain," said human resources director Andrew Sherwood. "As a result we are constantly looking at ways of making the business better able to cope with the challenging and highly competitive economic environment.

"We have entered into consultation with affected staff, which may cause a degree of uncertainty for these individuals. To minimise this it is our intention to provide regular information updates throughout the process."

Bartram's exit from the role of CEO is not the only departure from Bernard Matthews' senior management. Chairman David McCall and Rob Mears, the company's UK managing director, have also stepped down.

Meanwhile, the company is exploring the possibility of an external cash injection into the company in a bid to boost growth.

Despite tough trading conditions, the company returned to profit in its last financial year. Pre-tax profit in the 12 months to 1 July rose to GBP2m (US$3.2m). In the previous reporting period, the company had booked a pre-tax loss of GBP28.8m.