2 sisters, the UK’s largest poultry group is planning to shut down it’s three factories, putting around 900 jobs at risk. The group has been recently hit by an undercover investigation that raised questions on the hygiene standards at the company.
Factories at Smethwick and Wolverhampton in West Midlands and Cambuslang in South Lanarkshire is reportedly considered for closure. A spokesperson confirmed the possibility of job losses, but added that the firm will be creating 1000 jobs at other units in the country.
“As we continue to build a better business, we are simplifying how we work and investing in the areas that can make the most positive difference to our UK poultry operations. This means that we will be creating up to 1,000 new roles within the poultry supply chain. However, we do have areas of significant challenge and regrettably 900 roles will be at risk at three loss-making sites which we propose to close,” Guardian quoted the spokesperson as saying.
The union leaders at the West Midlands site has opened talks with the company officials on the issue, reported Express & Star. The union Unite said that the plans amount to a betrayal of workers who stood by the company during the controversy.
“Unite will be doing everything it can to support our members and secure their futures. It will impact on communities and employment opportunities in the West Midlands and in Scotland,” said Joe Clarke, Unite national officer for food.
“Workers who have stuck with the company through thick and thin and worked hard to make it a success will inevitably feel a sense of betrayal. The 2 Sisters Food Group needs to listen to alternatives to site closures,” he added.
The undercover investigation by Guardian and ITV in September 2017 exposed that the company is changing in slaughter dates to extend the shelf-life of meat, thereby duping consumers into buying out-of-date meat. It also showed that poultry is used on the production line even after being dropped on the floor. The report forced the company to suspend the production at the West Bromwich plant for five weeks.
The report also prompted an an investigation by the Food Standards Agency, which is continuing. Another inquiry by the parliamentary committee for environment, food and rural affairs found that the issues “were not a one off”.