Norfolk

Coronavirus: Bernard Matthews seeks 200 new staff

Andrew Sherwood
Image caption Bernard Matthews bigwig Andrew Sherwood: "As long as we have the people... we can do our bit to feed the nation"

Poultry giant Bernard Matthews is aiming to recruit 200 new workers to deal with a 35% increase in demand for its products.

The firm, with sites in Norfolk and Suffolk, says people are avoiding pubs and restaurants and eating at home.

This has brought a surge in demand, HR director Andrew Sherwood said.

The firm has appealed both for people who want to work for up to six weeks and those seeking long-term employment.

Image copyright Geograph/Mark Boyer
Image caption Bernard Matthews is a big employer in East Anglia

Bernard Matthews has factories at Great Witchingham, near Norwich, in Norfolk, and Holton, near Halesworth, in Suffolk.

"Over the last couple of weeks we've seen demand go up by 35% so we've been working flat out, working at weekends and using a lot of overtime from our existing employees," Mr Sherwood said.

"We need 200 people spread across both our sites."

He said some staff were self-isolating and this was putting a strain on production, and he was also concerned about school closures, but was pleased food industry staff were classed as key workers.

"So many pubs and restaurants have closed in the last week; people are eating at home and not eating out, driving our demand.

"We can offer people short-term opportunities of four to six weeks if that suits them but we're always looking for a long-term basis.

"As long as we have the people and the raw materials, we can do our bit to feed the nation," he added.

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