Bernard Matthews re-employs workers

Bernard Matthews has announced it is re-employing 32 workers, following the temporary laying off of 270 in the wake of the bird flu outbreak.

The food producer added the number was set to rise to more than 100 in the coming weeks after a sales improvement.

The company's sales were hit following the bird flu outbreak at its site in Holton, Suffolk earlier in the year and the company was forced to lay off staff.

A spokesman for the firm said: "Bernard Matthews is pleased to confirm that it has reengaged 32 staff this week and an additional two have been invited to return. The company plans to increase this number to in excess of 100 over the coming weeks following an improvement in sales.

"Bernard Matthews is dedicated to doing everything possible to restore consumer confidence further and reengage all laid-off employees as quickly as possible."

The Transport & General Workers Union has welcomed the news. Miles Hubbard, T&G regional industrial organiser, said he hoped the group of 32 who have been taken back will be the start of a steady return for the other 200 plus who remain at home.

"The T&G has stood by our people throughout this situation and worked with Bernard Matthews to try to limit the damage done by the bird 'flu outbreak," he said. "We remain convinced that the turkey products from this company are probably the safest on the market which is why we are sure consumer demand for them will return.

"With that return we very hope to see the sacrifices of our members repaid by them getting their jobs back as quickly as possible."

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