Essex

Essex chicken factory 2 Sisters closure 400 job losses

Chicken factory
Image caption The 2 Sisters Food Group is to close the site on Freebournes Road

More than 400 jobs have been lost at a chicken factory after its closure was confirmed.

The 2 Sisters Food Group said it had been unable to find an alternative to closing the site in Witham, Essex.

The company, which employed 528 at the site on Freebournes Road, said 100 jobs would be redeployed to sites elsewhere in the Eastern region.

Witham's Conservative MP Priti Patel said she had expressed her concerns about the job losses to the firm.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The firm said it had been "a tough decision to cease operations"

In a statement, the company said: "Following our colleague consultation process, it is with regret that we can confirm the closure of our poultry processing site in Witham.

"Unfortunately, we have been unable to identify a viable alternative to closure. We anticipate that final production will finish by the end of August.

"We would like to reiterate that the tough decision to cease operations at Witham is no reflection on the colleagues at site who have been dedicated, loyal and hardworking, and we would like thank all for their professionalism during a very unsettling time."

Image caption Factory worker Trevor Harvey said "what can you do?" when the closure was proposed earlier this year

The company supplies chickens to most of the UK's major supermarkets and also owns Fox's Biscuits and Holland's Pies.

After the announcement of the consultation in May, Trevor Harvey, who had worked at the site for the last 25 years, said "I will miss the place but what can you do?".

Ms Patel said: "I will continue to press the company on its plans to provide secure employment to local employees and ensure that people have employment security at this worrying time for them and their families."

2 Sisters said it would "work hard" to assist people find other local opportunities both within its wider group and with other employers.

In September 2017, the Food Standards Agency investigated the company after alleged safety breaches at one its factories in West Bromwich, leading to operations being temporarily suspended.

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