Trade union calls on buyers to save over 500 jobs as 2 Sisters’ Elkes Biscuits at risk of closure

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UK’s leading trade union has raised an alarm over the future Elkes biscuits as it is at risk of closing with the loss of more than 500 jobs.

2 Sisters Food Group is set to launch a consultation into the future of Elkes Biscuits in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, stated recent report.

Calling the possibility of loss of more than 500 jobs a “catastrophe” for the town, trade union Unite called for a buyer to come forward and save the 2 Sisters Food Group firm as the knock-on impact on the town would be “substantial”.

“The possible closure of Elkes biscuits would be a catastrophe for the employees, their families and the wider regional economy. It is Uttoxeter’s biggest employer so the knock-on impact on the shops and hospitality outlets that rely on the spending power of the workforce would be substantial,” Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said.

“However, we know that Elkes biscuits has a wide range of biscuits that are very popular with consumers, and this is underpinned by a dedicated and hardworking workforce. All these factors make it an attractive proposition to another company wishing to buy the site.”

Staff at the factory have been left shocked by the news, with one saying they “knew that the factory wouldn’t last very long” as it has run at a loss for a long time.

Reports also claimed that staff at Elkes were told the news after failing to find a buyer for the past year.

Bosses have said they are looking at a “full range of options” for the site, including its potential closure, describing the business as “significantly loss-making”, reports said.

Elkes is known for creating the famous Malted Milk biscuit, with its iconic cow logo, and has been based in Uttoxeter since 1908. 

It was acquired by 2 Sisters under the Fox’s Biscuits banner in 2011 as part of a £342m deal for Northern Foods. The food group retained ownership of the business after selling Fox’s and associated sites at Batley and Kirkham to Ferrero in November 2020, with the Uttoxeter factory continuing production of own label products for major retailers.