More jobs to go at bakery

A picket line at the Hovis premises in 2013
A picket line at the Hovis premises in 2013
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WIGAN’S workforce has been dealt a second heavy blow as more than 100 jobs at the Hovis bakery are at risk due to cut-backs.

Company bosses dropped the bombshell yesterday leaving union leaders “shocked and devastated” with the operation having already lost 40 workers this year.

I come from Wigan and I worked there myself for 22 years and I have a lot of friends in the town, I’m shocked and devastated

Geoff Atkinson

It is the second major job loss announcement in recent weeks with a similar number of workers at Betfred facing a similar fate.

Geoff Atkinson, regional secretary of the Bakery and Allied Food Workers’ Union (BFAWU), said consultations will start at the New Springs site today.

He told the Evening Post: “It has come completely out of the blue. We lost 40 staff there in July and we thought that would be it for the time being.

“I come from Wigan and I worked there myself for 22 years and I have a lot of friends in the town, I’m shocked and devastated.”

Hovis bosses said the cut-backs were due to a fall in demand although the crumpet production line will continue as usual.

Simon Devereux, chief operations officer said: “As part of an ongoing review of our supply chain, we have identified a need to streamline two key areas.

“Firstly, to align bread production with the forecasted reduction in demand, we are proposing the closure of the line at our Wigan Bakery, placing 111 roles at risk.

“The crumpet production line and logistics operation at the Wigan site will continue to operate as today.

“We are now consulting with the colleagues potentially affected by this proposal.”

The company is also merging its logistics operation which could “potentially result in a further reduction in roles” but will not impact on the logistics team in Wigan.

Details of the job losses are yet to be confirmed but are understood to affect around half of the workforce including factory floor workers, engineers and office staff with the first lay-offs expected to come into effect from March.

Emma Barton, Wigan Council’s assistant director for economic development and skills, said: “This is obviously disappointing news and very unsettling for the employees involved.

“We will be in touch with Hovis to see if there is any support we can offer in the long-term if jobs are lost.

“At Wigan Council we are working hard to strengthen our economy and bring investment into the borough to create jobs and opportunities for our residents.”