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Warburtons cuts 73 jobs following plant closure

By Oliver Nieburg , 10-Jan-2012

UK bakery firm Warburtons has announced that it is to axe 73 jobs at its Oldham bakery after closure of the site.

The news comes as the company plans a new facility in Bolton, set to open imminently.

The company issued a statement which read: “The decision has been made to enable the business to produce and distribute products more efficiently and to maximise the £39m investment in new state-of-the-art technology, including new plants at Enfield, Bristol and Bolton.”

In recent years, Warburtons has added a crumpet plant in Enfield and a bread bakery in Bristol.

A hundred and one employees at the Shaw, Oldham facility have been relocated to other Warburtons sites, found alternative roles or taken early retirement.

The remaining 73 were made redundant.

Robert Higginson, MD of Warburtons said: “Closing a bakery is the hardest decision a family firm like Warburtons has to make but these changes to our manufacturing and distribution operations are vital to ensure we can continue to meet the demands of our customers and consumers.”

New Bolton plant

Tearmh France, corporate communications manager at Warburtons, told BakeryAndSnacks.com that a new bakery in Bolton producing a wide range of Warburtons products was “due to be completed any time now”.

The new facility will add to Warburtons’ existing facility in Bolton

More job threats?

This existing plant was forced into temporary closure in 2010 following a fire believed to have been started in an industrial oven.

Asked if the opening of the new Bolton bakery would signal the end of the existing plant, France said: “There are no plans to lose any more bakeries in the UK.”

Future investment

The Oldham closure was announced shortly before the company said it would spend £200m in the next five years in a speech given by executive director Ross Warburton at the Society of Food Hygiene and Technology's 2011 annual lecture in November

France said that plans on how the money is to be spent were yet to be decided.

Exports

The company currently has 13 manufacturing facilities all located in the UK.

It is in the process of a continued trial in collaboration with Tesco to export its goods in Eastern Europe.

Ross Warburton indicated in his speech his desire to see a bakery located in the former eastern bloc supplying Poland and the Czech Republic.

France was asked if any of the £200m would be spent on manufacturing facilities in mainland Europe, but she said there were no plans to date.

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