Reassurances by the new owners of turkey producers Bernard Matthews that the jobs of the 2,000-strong workforce are safe have been welcomed by Unite, the country’s largest union, today (Wednesday 21 September).
Unite met with representatives of the Private Office of Ranjit Singh Boparan, which purchased the iconic company yesterday, at the firm’s headquarters in Great Witchingham, Norfolk today.
Unite regional officer Steve Harley said: “We had productive talks today and we were given guarantees that all current agreements will be honoured.
“It was made clear that the new owner wishes to restore Bernard Matthews to its former position as a highly profitable business that it enjoyed before the current financially troubled period.
“This would be achieved by greater investment in the business, cost savings, and utilising the present spare capacity at Bernard Matthews to process chicken and not just turkeys.
“We are reassured by the pledge that there will be no reduction in the workforce headcount and that the company is looking forward to a full order book for this Christmas.
“Going forward, we wish to work with the new management team to achieve the goal of an expanding enterprise and maintaining Bernard Matthews as a major employer in East Anglia.”
Unite understands that the Bernard Matthews final salary pension scheme was closed in 2004 and that its members presently have an alternative pension scheme which is unaffected by yesterday’s takeover.
Unite represents about 800 of the 2,000-strong workforce at the producing sites at Great Witchingham and Holton in Suffolk, as well as the animal food mill at Bawsey, near King’s Lynn.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.
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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.