Staff from UK own-label supplier Bakkavor today (28 October) launched a protest against the company’s plans to cut 375 jobs from a fresh produce site in the country.

Workers at Bakkavor’s Bourne site held a demonstration in the town today to highlight the company’s plans, which the manufacturer has said were necessary amid falling sales and higher costs.

Jennie Formby, national officer for the food and drink sector at UK trade union Unite, said she was “very pleased” with the protest and claimed the demonstration received a “fantastic response” from the residents in Bourne.

“This town cannot tolerate job losses on this scale at this time when the [coalition government’s spending] cuts are set to sweep through communities,” Formby said.

“Bakkavor is such an important employer in this town that we are appealing to our friends and neighbours, for the sake of our town, help us keep our jobs. Many families have members working side by side at the plant, including husbands and wives, so the threat of job losses is potentially devastating.”

Union officials and Bakkavor are set to meet next Wednesday to discuss the company’s proposals.

Bakkavor said it “fully appreciated that this is a difficult time for everyone concerned”.

The company added: “As we have previously acknowledged, this is a response to difficult trading conditions which have resulted in reduced sales volumes and higher raw material costs. Our objective is to ensure the long-term viability and sustainability of our business at Bourne.

“There are 375 employees at risk as part of this process and if the proposal goes ahead it may result in a proportion of this number being made redundant. This proposal also includes a review of wage structures and working practices.”