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Kerry Foods proposes to close its Durham factory putting over 350 jobs at risk

Date: 29 March 2012 Kerry Foods has today announced it intends to close its food processing factory in Durham putting over 350 jobs at risk.

The company made the announcement to stunned workers early this afternoon, saying in order to reduce costs it was proposing to transfer all production from Durham to other Kerry Foods sites. The company has other sites in both the UK and Republic of Ireland.

The factory, which is Durham's third largest private sector employer, has been in operation for many years and primarily processes sliced meats for a range of major and own label brands.

Joanne Thomas, Usdaw's North East Divisional Officer said:

"This is absolutely disastrous news for everyone who works at Kerry Foods, for their families and for the whole community. Many of our members have worked at the site for years and a number even work alongside their parents or sons and daughters so any closure could destroy the incomes of entire families."

"There has been no prior warning that closure was being considered, or even a suggestion that the future of the site could be in doubt, so our members are understandably extremely shocked, angry and distressed."

"We will examine the company's business case for the proposed closure in detail but our overriding objective will be to keep the site open and to save jobs. We have already been in contact with local MP Roberta Blackman-Woods and Stephen Hughes MEP and they have pledged to do all they can to help us fight the closure and to save as many jobs as possible."

Notes for Editors:

  1. Usdaw has approximately 200 members at Kerry Foods in Durham, around 55% of the total workforce. Kerry Foods Durham is located at Rennies Lane, Gilesgate Moor, Durham DH1 2QX.
  2. Usdaw (the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest and fastest growing trade union with over 410,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 20% in the last six years and by nearly a third in the last decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

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