Bernard Matthews considers further job cuts

Bernard Matthews could cut a further 160 staff at its Great Witchingham plant in Norfolk due to unprofitability in the whole bird market.

The company has now entered a consultation period with staff over the possible job losses, which would be phased in over a 12-month period.

Managing director Jeff Halliwell issued a statement to local media, which read: “We are two years into a four-year strategy to return the business to profitable growth and while the company's results are moving in the right direction, we are still far from the levels of returns the business should be making.

“Key to this is the fact that the frozen whole bird part of our business is currently unprofitable. Rather than exit the frozen bird market, we have carried out a detailed review of the operation and have developed a plan that ensures this part of the business returns to profitability.

“The plan requires transferring the production of frozen whole birds to our Holton site in Suffolk. The move cannot be completed until early 2011, but it is our duty to explain the rationale and consult with staff and the union as early as possible.”

There was an earlier round of job cuts at the Great Witchingham and Holton plants last summer in order to increase efficiency.

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