Vion cuts jobs at Welsh Country
Almost half the workforce at Welsh Country Foods’ Gaerwen plant in Anglesey look set to lose their jobs following a massive restructure.
Owner VION blamed shoppers for choosing cheaper meats over lamb and said projections of processing volumes did not point to a return to previous levels of activity in the short to medium term. It plans to transfer retail packing operations from Gaerwen to the VION site at Winsford.
The company said despite talks with supply chain partners to mitigate the impact, there was no alternative but to restructure the business. As a result, more than 200 redundancies from the 444-strong workforce were possible at the site which slaughters, process and packs lamb.
It promised to explore ways of avoiding redundancies, including transfers to other businesses within the wider company, and has started a 90-day consultation period with staff and Unite union reps.
Jose Peralta, MD VION red meat business unit, said: “Operating within an increasingly competitive and increasingly demanding marketplace, we must continually look to optimising our production facilities. We regret the need for these proposed changes...and have informed our employees and their Union representatives of our commitment to consult with them.”
The news was greeted with dismay by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales. “The announcement represents a bitter blow to the 200 people and their families who depend on the meat cutting plant in Gaerwen for their livelihoods,” said a spokesman.
“It is also a major setback to the economy, not only of Anglesey, but the entire North Wales region. We hope that as economic conditions improve, the company will feel sufficiently confident to expand its operation at Gaerwen once again.”
Welsh Country Foods produces and processes beef, lamb, pork, bacon and chicken as well as sausages, cooked meats and cooked chicken.