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Up to 270 workers at risk of losing jobs as ready meals maker Pilgrim’s plans to close Greenford site

Up to 270 workers could lose their jobs after ready meals manufacturer Pilgrim’s Food Masters has revealed plans to close its Spurway factory site in Greenford. 

Pilgrim’s, which supplies a number of supermarkets including Waitrose, Morrisons and Aldi bought Kerry Food Group that included Noon in 2021 and acquired a number of sites some of which have already closed down or reduced staff.

The company had previously held a 45-day consultation with its staff earlier this year about plans to close Dean Way a site in Southall.

In a statement about Spurway, the company said:

“These necessary proposals form part of the business’s on-going review of its operational footprint to ensure sites are fully optimised, securing a sustainable future for the business and our colleagues. These proposals will put around 270 team members at Spurway, at all levels, at risk of redundancy and the business will shortly be entering into collective consultation with union representatives. All those affected will be supported throughout the consultation process, including exploring opportunities for redeployment to other sites within the Pilgrim’s Europe business.

“As a market-leading supplier to the meals and snacking categories, Pilgrim’s Europe remains fully committed to investing in, and building on, our 30-year heritage and capability to provide best-in-class service to our customers, and high-quality food solutions to our consumers, including at our local Windmill site.”

Earlier this year, on 21 March 2024, trade union GMB London along with local MP for Ealing Southall, Virendra Sharma held a meeting for workers impacted by Pilgrim’s plans to close Dean Way.

The meeting also heard from Ealing Council leader Councillor Peter Mason; cabinet member for safe and genuinely affordable homes, Councillor Bassam Mahfouz; cabinet member for decent living incomes, Councillor Louise Brett and Councillor Aysha Raza.

Posting on X, Councillor Raza said: “We all came together. @EalingLabour @GMBLondonRegion for Pilgrim’s Food Masters Dean Way campaign meeting this afternoon. We stand united to support each other in our community when we need to fight for our jobs & livelihoods.”

Gavin Davies, GMB London senior organiser said: “GMB has serious concerns about how this will impact on our members and the local community with the job losses. With the previous closure of Colette Way, a further closure to Dean Way has come as a massive blow to our members.”

Mr Davies added: “GMB will fight tooth and nail for workers to be paid every penny they are due.”

Local MP for Ealing Southall Virendra Sharma MP said: “It is very disappointing that after winning the last fight to save jobs in Southall, Pilgrim’s Foods are now coming for them again. Every employee there has my support, along with the GMB, and we’ll be there alongside them. Workers on the site deserve a proper consultation and to have their needs heard.”

The company revealed that it is facing challenges in the industry and “lower than expected volumes”.

In a statement, Pilgrim’s said: “Over the past few years, we have been working hard to transform our meals business, which has seen us secure long-term customer contracts, increase our product offering and improve our operational efficiencies.

“Despite our best efforts, we are continuing to face industry challenges and lower-than-expected market volumes. In light of these market conditions – and in order to ensure business continuity and protect jobs – we have had no choice but to review the shape of our business.

“Following a thorough assessment, we have identified ways to maximise the capacity across our sites and are proposing to consolidate our total ready meals volume into Attleborough and Windmill Lane. This unfortunately means the proposed closure of our Dean Way site.”

“We expect these proposals will place around 260 of our colleagues at risk of redundancy, following an initial consultation period. We’ll be supporting all those affected throughout this process and our intention is to redeploy colleagues to our neighbouring sites wherever possible. We are working hard to limit any impact to our customers, consumers and suppliers during this time.”

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