US meat heavyweight Tyson Foods is to lay off employees at a cooked poultry facility in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

The Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farm brands owner has not specified how many workers are to be made redundant but local media reports have put the figure at 250.

According to local broadcaster WBTV, the plant employs 3,000 people.

Tyson has already shut two poultry plants this year and plans four more closures in 2024.

In a statement sent to Just Food on the job cuts in Wilkesboro, a Tyson spokesperson said: “After careful consideration, and in response to customer demand, we have reduced the number of positions on second shift at the Tyson Foods Wilkesboro complex.

“We realise the impact on our team members and supporting them is our priority. We were able to offer these team members the opportunity to take other positions at the Wilkesboro plant and to apply for positions at other Tyson Foods facilities.”

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In August, Tyson announced it was to close four domestic chicken plants during the first half of the 2024 fiscal year in a bid to reduce costs against a backdrop of slowing demand and plummeting profits.

The company said it would shift production to other facilities.

The affected plants are located in North Little Rock, Arkansas; Corydon, Indiana; Dexter, Missouri; and Noel, Missouri. News agency Reuters has estimated close to 3,000 people are employed at the sites.

Tyson estimated total charges of $300m to $400m from the closures.

The company has already cut corporate jobs and shut other chicken plants this year. It announced in April 15% of senior leadership roles and 10% of corporate roles were to be shed. A month earlier, Tyson announced the closure of two plants in Glen Allen, Virginia, and Van Buren, Arkansas with more than 1,600 jobs impacted.

In a call with analysts after its fiscal third-quarter financial results were reported in August, Tyson CEO Donnie King did not rule out further closures as it continued to face pressures across its chicken, beef and pork operations.

King said: “We’re continuing to evaluate everything as we automate and modernise these assets. And so, we’ll continue to look.”

He added: “We’re executing a multi-point plan focused on efficiency and modernisation, including taking a much closer look at our cost structure across the business to drive operational excellence.”

Arkansas-based Tyson reported third-quarter sales of $13.14bn, down 3% year-on-year, while its adjusted operating income fell by 82% to $179m.