Unite, Wales’ largest union, has pledged to work ‘strenuously’ to see if a new business plan can be produced to save the 350 jobs under threat at Welsh Country Foods on the Isle of Anglesey.
Unite described today’s (Friday 11 January) announcement from the Vion Food Group that the fresh lamb business could be forced to close because its main customer, Asda, had found an alternative supplier as “desperately sad”.
Andy Richards, Unite Wales secretary, said: “The news that Vion could shut its Welsh Country Foods site on Anglesey is a blow to those who work there, the local community and the economy of the island.
“This is a sad start to 2013 for our members and we will be doing all we can to ensure both support and a viable future for Welsh workers at Welsh Country Foods.
“We need investment, not cuts to jobs in Wales and I will be raising this matter urgently with the Welsh government.”
Unite national officer for the sector Julia Long said: "This is desperately sad news for the employees at Welsh Country Foods on the Isle of Anglesey, as well as their families. The knock-on effect for the local economy could be severe, as there are limited alternative employment opportunities on the island.
"A glimmer of hope is that the Vion Food Group realises the gravity of the situation and has pledged to have discussions with Asda, its main customer for its fresh lamb products, to see if the decision to close the Anglesey plant can be overturned.
“We urge Asda to rethink what we feel is its misguided strategy in this instance and work with Vion to establish a viable future for Welsh Country Foods and to save these jobs.
“Unite will work strenuously, day-and night, with all parties concerned - Vion, the Welsh government and the Isle of Anglesey county council - to see if a viable future can be fashioned for this vital part of the local economy.”
Dutch-owned Vion UK, which employs 8,000 staff at 30 facilities across the UK, said today that it was beginning the 90-day consultation process with unions and the workforce on the Isle of Anglesey.
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940 and/or Unite Welsh press officer Hannah Blythyn on 07980 237 694
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.