Daily Newsletter

19 March 2024

Daily Newsletter

19 March 2024

Pilgrim’s Pride lines up the closure of another UK factory

The US-owned business could close its second site in west London in 18 months.

Henry Mathieu March 18 2024

Pilgrim’s Food Masters, part of US meat major Pilgrim’s Pride, plans to close another UK factory, a move that will affect 260 jobs.

The UK-based company, which makes chilled and frozen ready-meals for supermarkets, has announced the redundancies at its site in Southall in west London.

Trade union GMB reported that Pilgrim’s will now enter a statutory 45-day consultation with staff at the facility on Dean Way.

Gavin Davies, GMB senior organiser, said: “GMB has serious concerns about how this will impact on our members and the local community with the job losses.”

Last March, the trade union said 1,000 employees at another site in the UK capital had been “threatened with the sack if they did not accept losing paid breaks, reduced sick pay and the removal of Diwali holiday pay” at Pilgrim’s Food Masters. The manufacturer withdrew the threat, GMB said.

That row came just four months after Pilgrim’s Food Masters announced plans to close another site in Southall, with the potential loss of more than 200 jobs. It cited “difficult headwinds” and the “inflationary environment” for that decision.

Davies added in a statement today (18 March): “With the previous closure of Colette Way, a further closure to Dean Way has come as a massive blow to our members.

“GMB will fight tooth and nail for workers to be paid every penny they are due.”

The ready-meals maker said indicated the production at the Dean Way site would be consolidated into two others – one on Windmill Lane in Southall and another in Attleborough in eastern England.

In a statement, Pilgrim’s said: “Over the past few years, we have been working hard to transform our meals business, which has seen us secure long-term customer contracts, increase our product offering and improve our operational efficiencies.

“Despite our best efforts, we are continuing to face industry challenges and lower-than-expected market volumes. In light of these market conditions – and in order to ensure business continuity and protect jobs – we have had no choice but to review the shape of our business.

“Following a thorough assessment, we have identified ways to maximise the capacity across our sites and are proposing to consolidate our total ready meals volume into Attleborough and Windmill Lane. This unfortunately means the proposed closure of our Dean Way site.”

The business added that it will be “supporting all those affected throughout this process and our intention is to redeploy colleagues to our neighbouring sites wherever possible”.

Pilgrim’s Pride is majority-owned by Brazil-based meat giant JBS. It employs around 60,000 people worldwide. Pilgrim’s UK employs around 5,500 people.

Pilgrim’s Food Masters was previously part of Ireland-based Kerry Group. Pilgrim’s Pride acquired Kerry Group’s meats and meals business in 2021 in a deal that valued the assets at an “enterprise value” of £680m ($942.4m).

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