RF Brookes food factory closure in South Wigston confirms union fears as 229 jobs lost
Union leaders have expressed anger after it was announced a food factory is to close, with the loss of 229 jobs.
RF Brookes, of South Wigston, is expected to cease trading by the end of March next year after its owner said yesterday the loss-making business was unsustainable.
The chilled food producer has lost two major contracts to make pies and pizzas for supermarkets over the past 12 months. In July, owner 2 Sisters Food Group said up to 150 jobs would be lost after it transferred some food production to a site in Nottingham.
At the time, the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) warned 2 Sisters was looking to close the Magna Road factory after a second round of redundancies at the site in two months. Managers had denied this.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
BFAWU regional officer Tony Lewis said: "I find the whole thing very upsetting, especially for those who have given their all for the company and now find themselves thrown on the scrapheap.
"There are people who have been at the company for 25 to 30 years. People are absolutely gutted after all those years of loyal service."
A spokesman for 2 Sisters said: "After exploring all viable options, unfortunately it has not been possible to find a sustainable future for the loss-making factory. We are proposing to transfer the remaining products from Leicestershire to other company factories and close the site during the first quarter of 2013, following a 90-day consultation period with our 229 colleagues."
Veepul Patel, divisional director for RF Brookes, said: "The decision is not taken lightly. Our immediate priority now is to support our colleagues in Leicestershire through consultation."
The spokesman said he could not say where the factory's remaining products – pizza bases and Yorkshire puddings – would be transferred to. As well as Nottingham, 2 Sisters also has two factories in South Wales.
Oadby and Wigston Borough Council leader John Boyce, who represents South Wigston, said: "It's a devastating blow. There are a fair number of local people who work there and it will have a knock-on effect on the local economy in terms of the supply chain and retailers."
RF Brookes was sold by Premier Foods to Birmingham-based 2 Sisters as part of a £30 million deal in December last year.
At the start of the year the factory employed about 500 people.
In June, hundreds of workers at the factory took strike action in protest over a cut in redundancy payments.