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Talks fail to stop job losses at Kendal's Heinz factory
TALKS to avert job losses at one of Kendal’s largest employers have failed.
A consultation was announced at baby food manuf-acturer Heinz back in June after proposals to make 45 staff redundant from a total workforce of over 170.
Despite union and political representation, 44 job losses in production and management at the Mint Bridge Road plant have now gone through.
However, there were fewer compulsory redundancies than originally feared.
A spokesman for Heinz said: “The consultation period has now finished.
“The number of posts going was reduced to 44 through the consultation, and this is made up through 26 voluntary, six compulsory and 12 vacancies and fixed-term contracts.”
Many staff at Heinz are represented through the Unite and the GMB unions.
Cumbrian-based Alan McGuckin, of Unite, said: “It has been resolved. It appears, sadly, that the production of baby milk is moving to the Far East, but cereal production and production for Western Europe will be based in Kendal.
“Many people have left the organisation and the majority through voluntary redundancy.
“There are around 45, give or take one or two.”
At the time of the ann-ouncement, Mr McGuckin had expressed concern about the future viability of the Kendal site.
The company’s main UK and Ireland food manufacturing facility is based near Wigan and produces over one billion cans every year, as well as being Europe’s largest food factory.
Heinz maintained it had proposed redundancies after ‘careful consideration’ of all possible alternatives.
“The production transfer proposal and job impacts at Kendal do not reflect on the dedication, and hard work, of all employees at the site.
“We recognise the impact this proposal could have on our employees and the community.”
In March 2011, Heinz announced £2.5m investment plans for its Kendal operation to scale-up production of specialist mother and baby foods. At the time, the firm said the project would ‘provide a new future for the historic Kendal base’.
The job losses at Heinz are an unwelcome blip in Westmorland and Lonsdale’s otherwise healthy unemployment figures, which show it has the fifth highest rate of employment out of 650 UK constituencies.
In July the rate went down to just 1.1per cent of the working-age popul-ation.
This meant there were 119 fewer claimants than in July 2012, and 10 fewer claimants than the previous month.
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