350 jobs at risk at 2 Sisters’ Merthyr Tydfil site

2 Sisters Food Group has announced plans to move a retail packing operation from its St Merryn plant in Merthyr Tydfil, which could result in 350 jobs being lost. 

Citing “serious challenges” to the red meat sector, it claims the operation is “no longer sustainable” and proposes moving it to a site in Cornwall. The Merthyr Tydfil site currently employs 1,100 people.

In a statement, it said: “As part of a wider strategic review, we can confirm we are consulting with colleagues about the viability of our retailing packing operation at our Merthyr Tydfil meat processing site.

“Regrettably, the red meat sector in the UK faces many serious challenges including declining markets, falling volumes, higher input costs and a fiercely competitive retail landscape. This extremely difficult environment means the packing operation at Merthyr, which includes the packing of steaks and chops, is no longer sustainable.

“We do not take the decision to launch this review lightly, but it is the only way our business can survive and prosper for the longer term.”

The company said it hoped to redeploy staff where possible. If the proposal does take place – and a 45-day consultation is planned – the move isn’t expected to take place until January 2017.

“Our main focus now is to begin discussions with our colleagues to explore every available option to mitigate the potential loss of this function, which will include seeking relocation and redeployment opportunities elsewhere in the group. This decision does not impact our beef and lamb slaughter and cutting operations and these will continue to operate as usual at Merthyr Tydfil.

“The site will continue to employ up to 700 colleagues. We will also be working with the Welsh Government, Job Centre Plus and Staffline to seek opportunities for our colleagues outside the business.”

Nick Ireland, division officer from union Usdaw, said: “This proposal will be devastating news for the loyal and hardworking staff at the Merthyr Tydfil site, especially so in the run-up to Christmas.

“Usdaw will be doing everything we can during the 45-day consultation process to look in detail at the proposals with a view to safeguarding jobs, maximising future employment at the Merthyr Tydfil site and securing the best deal possible for staff.”

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