Union fights to save Hovis jobs

Staff on strike at the Hovis factory
Staff on strike at the Hovis factory

JOB loss numbers at a Wigan bakery have been reduced but dozens are still facing redundancy as consultations draw to a close.

Staff at the Hovis site in New Springs were told last month that almost 50 would be facing the axe due to “changes in the bread market.”

Union representatives and the parent company Hovis Ltd have been thrashing out details and agreed to reduce the number of losses to either 41 or 39.

Geoff Atkinson, regional secretary of the Bakery and Allied Food Worker’s Union, said “one to one” talks are taking place this week and workers leaving the company will go by the end of the month.

He added the union had managed to reduce the number being let go from 48 to 39.

A spokesperson for Hovis told the Evening Post the consultation process “had entered its final stages” and is due to be completed by the end of this week.

They added: “There has been a very positive working relationship with the unions in this difficult period and as a result, we have been able to mitigate a further seven roles to date.”

Last year US investment firm Gores Group paid £30m for a controlling 51 per cent stake in the Hovis brand - creating the standalone business Hovis Ltd - raising hopes of long-term job security.

But staff were hit with the jobs bombshell in June due to “ongoing pressure and changes in the market” the company said.

A spokesman added: “Unfortunately it has become necessary for us to review our production levels. We are consulting with the colleagues affected by this very difficult decision. No other bakeries are impacted.”

The under threat staff received backing from Wigan MP Lisa Nandy who supported the workers during their strike action in 2013.

Ms Nandy said: “I will continue to work closely with management and the trade unions.”