The news did not initially come from Kerry Foods but from a statement from Britain and Ireland’s largest union group, Unite.
However, Kerry did tell DairyReporter, “Kerry Foods announced yesterday that we propose to cease operations at our production facility in Burton from the start of September, notwithstanding continuing efforts to find alternative solutions for the site.
“The company would like to extend a sincere thank you to all our Burton colleagues for their hard work and commitment and our priority now is to support all employees affected during this time.”
The closure is 'a calamity for the town', Unite said today.
Unite pledged it would 'leave no stone unturned' in supporting the workforce in seeking alternative employment and has already been in touch with brewer Molson Coors, which is the town's second largest employer, regarding employment opportunities.
Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said, “This is a calamity for Burton as Kerry Foods is the town's biggest employer. It is heart breaking for the workforce, their families and, more widely, a crushing blow for the regional economy.
“The closure is a result of Kerry Foods losing the contract to supply supermarket giant Tesco's with ready-made meals, which was 90% of its business. Kerry Foods tried to find alternative markets and customers, but to no avail.”
Kerry lost a Tesco contract last October that was responsible for a large percentage of its business.
Coyle added, “The problem going forward is that there are not that many well paid jobs in Burton and the vicinity to replace those that will be lost at the end of August.
“We have been in touch with Molson Coors to explore employment opportunities there. Also, we will help arrange a jobs fair at the site and assist our members with their CVs and advice on updating their skills.
“We will be meeting the management on Friday (June 28) to discuss an enhanced redundancy package for our members. We will leave no stone unturned to help our members in the days and weeks ahead.
“This is a very sad day for Burton and the end of an era.”
Inauguration of new €20m facility in India
Kerry Group has officially opened its new €20m ($22.8m) production facility in Tumkur, India.
The new 40,585 square meter facility, located 120km from Bangalore, will serve Kerry Taste & Nutrition’s global and regional customers in the South West Asia region, with Kerry Taste and Beverage systems for the retail and foodservice markets.
This is Kerry Group’s fourth investment in India and supports 150 new jobs in factory management and production, with further expansion and an additional 150 jobs planned when running at full capacity in the future.
"Our Tumkur facility will enable Kerry to offer a broader range of technologies, and more comprehensive scientific research and innovation and application expertise across Kerry’s Taste & Beverage Systems, to our customers with unrivaled speed," Scott Scharinger, Kerry’s VP and general manager, SWA, said.
The site is equipped with energy efficient LED technology and maximizes natural light to reduce energy consumption. Utilities make use of solar power, and the site has been constructed with capacity to deliver more of its future energy needs from renewable sources.
Water harvesting measures reduce water intake and the facility will deliver significant water efficiencies, with waste water treated and re-used on site to achieve zero liquid discharge. The site also operates as zero waste to landfill, with waste volumes segregated and sent for recycling and recovery of resources.