The union representing bakery workers facing redundancy after Warburtons closes its site in Oldham has criticised the UK baker for putting 174 jobs at risk.

Ian Hodson, the national president of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), said members, many of them having worked at the site for 40 years, are “extremely disappointed” with the planned closure and questioned the decision being made when the economy is in “turmoil and confidence is low”.

“This move is not from a company losing money, it’s a profitable company,” Hodson said.

“We have seen companies shut down their bakeries in the past and companies like Warburtons have been one of those snapping them up.”

Hodson added that it wasn’t that long ago that a major player shut down its Yorkshire site, only to reopen it within months of the closure because it “misread the market”. 

He also expressed his anger over government policy, criticising prime Minister David Cameron’s attack on the 1% National Insurance increase when he visited the Warburton’s flagship site in Bolton in April last year. Cameron said it would result in job losses and the money would be better used for investing in jobs.

“They got the political change they wanted and yet we are seeing no new jobs but a factory closure, redundancies at other sites and our members being put onto unhealthy shift patterns,” he said.

On the subject of redundancy payments, Hodson said it was important they were generous as job prospects in Oldham are “pretty bleak”.

“Our members round the country will be watching how their colleagues are treated and will not take kindly to anything that doesn’t represent a fair settlement,” Hodson concluded.

Warburtons were not available for comment at time of writing.