February 28, 2019 2.08 pm This story is over 31 months old

Over 650 jobs at risk with plans to close Holbeach food site

A 45-day consultation process has started

Over 650 jobs could be at risk with a Lincolnshire food and drink supplier closing its Holbeach site in April, subject to consultation.

Bakkovor Freshcook Ltd on Sluice Road in Holbeach St Marks employs 680 people but the management team has concluded that this branch is “no longer commercially viable”.

It has 520 weekly paid employees who are likely to be offered alternative roles across other Lincolnshire sites if proposals go ahead, thus minimising the impact of redundancies. The other 160 workers, who are salaried, are more at risk.

Subject to a 45-day consultation process the site is expected to close on April 28.

Bakkovor Pizza and Bread based in Holbeach will remain open.

The company has 19,000 workers across the UK and US with other sites in Lincolnshire. These include Bakkovor Cucina Sano Ltd in Boston, Wingland Foods Bakkovor in Spalding and Bakkovor Meals in Sutton Bridge.

Consultation process begins

A company spokesperson said: “We can confirm that we are commencing a 45-day consultation to propose the closure of our Freshcook site at Holbeach St Marks. As part of this proposal, we will be consulting with all of the employees based at the site.

“The management team has explored a number of different options to improve the performance of the site but has concluded that Freshcook is no longer commercially viable.

“If this proposal goes ahead, we are confident that we can offer the weekly paid employees alternative operational roles across our other Lincolnshire sites and we will make every effort to relocate other employees impacted wherever possible within Bakkavor Group.

“We would like to thank all of our colleagues for their commitment and professionalism during this difficult time.”

Group revenue increase

On Thursday, February 28 Bakkovor Group plc announced its full year unaudited results for the 52-week period ending December 29 2018.

This included group revenue increasing 2.2% to £1,855.2m, up 3.2% on a like-for-like basis. There was also a positive performance in the UK despite a tough market, with a like-for-like growth of 1.8%

For the full report click here.

Council supporting those affected

In a joint statement executive member for economy and place Colin Davie and member for Holbeach Nick Worth said: “We were sorry to hear about the potential closure of Freshcook.

“Our thoughts are with the staff and their families at this difficult time, and I’m sure we’ll see the local community rally round.

“We will, of course, work with South Holland District Council and our other partners to support those affected.

“And we’ll continue to showcase what the county has to offer to investors in a bid to attract new businesses to the area.

“Despite today’s disappointing news, the agri-food sector in the south of the county remains strong.

“And with good progress being made on the multi-million pound Holbeach Food Enterprise Zone, there’s plenty to be positive about for the future.”

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