Union anger over redundancy deal

Thursday 21 February 2013 Updated: 28/02 09:53

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Workers are being made redundant at the Hovis bakery in Garretts Green. (s)

THE union representing workers at the Hovis bakery in Garrett's Green has criticised the owners for not doing enough for its employees who are facing redundancy.

The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union has been in negotiations with Premier Foods, the company which owns Hovis, to finalise redundancy terms for more than 500 workers.

The 511 job losses were announced last year by Premier Foods who blamed the cuts on the loss of a major contract with the Co-op supermarket, worth £75million a year.

They carried out a consultation and staff are expecting to receive their official redundancy letters this week.

Premier Foods say the site will close down in May.

John Higgins, the regional official for the union, said they had hoped to secure a better deal for workers but they could not persuade the managers to agree.

He said many of the workers have spent much of their working lives at Hovis and he fears they will find it difficult to secure employment elsewhere.

"When they go in the job market out there, there's going to be nothing out there for them," he said.

"There's no jobs whatsoever and we thought that the company would look on them favourably and actually pay them a little bit extra for the years of loyalty, but that's not the case."

Workers spoke of their devastation when the job losses were announced in November last year.

At the same time Premier Foods also revealed hundreds of jobs would go at its Hovis site in Greenford, London.

A spokesman for Premier Foods described the meetings with the unions as constructive.

He said: "During the consultation process we have concluded that there is no viable alternative to the proposed closure and it is likely that the bakery will close around April/May of this year.

"Between now and the end of April we will be working hard to help our employees secure alternative employment, either through re-deployment within the Premier Foods Group or externally by providing outplacement support."

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