Up to 90 jobs may be at risk at Peter’s Food Service, as the company announces plans to reduce production.
The pie and pasty maker is slowing down after reviewing their own-label customer contracts and making decisions based on profitability.
Raw prices surge
The main factor to blame in the changes is, apparently, what it called an exceptional increase in raw material prices. The price changes would have meant a heavy blow to the price for the consumer, which Peter’s said is not possible in an “extremely competitive sector”.
The site in Bedwas, South Wales, will be hit with potential food job cuts following the decision, which will see them terminating the contracts which are no longer viable for the business to pursue.
“This, coupled with the normal seasonal decline within the sector at this time of year, will mean production at the company’s Bedwas site will be reduced and, therefore, a number of staff could be affected by these changes,” read a statement from the company. “A period of consultation has begun with staff about potential redundancies. It is envisaged that the total number affected could be approximately 90 employees.”
Peter’s have said they will work with staff in order to minimise the potential impact, though with such a large number to be cut, it is almost definite that some will be left in an uncomfortable position. The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers, USDAW, is now involved and will be consulting with Peter’s about members of the union who are made redundant.
“USDAW reps have entered into consultation talks where we are interrogating the business case for the proposals. We are seeking to minimise compulsory redundancies and ensuring the business has a viable future,” said Jason Stevens, area organiser for the USDAW. “In the meantime, USDAW is providing our members with the support, advice and representation they require at this difficult time.”
Brexit and currency changes
Many businesses are currently facing similar issues, which could pose a threat to food recruitment across the country. These are the first few waves of casualties of the Brexit vote, which, combined with surging changes in the price of the pound, have made ingredients imported from Europe more expensive. This has been too much for some companies to bear, as consumer sales also face a dry season.
Peter’s are not the first company to have announced redundancies. Another site in Rugby, managed by XPO Logistics and distributing cakes for Premier Foods, has also revealed that 120 jobs are at risk at their site. The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union is on the case there.
A number of high street restaurant chains have reportedly been in trouble, including the highly notable case of Jamie Oliver’s eponymous brand. This is not news for the sector, as many have seen since of impending trouble over the last couple of years.
Meanwhile. Greggs the high street bakery are looking at reducing their employees on a wide scale. By consolidating their manufacturing operations and expanding in the logistics sector, they are cutting production jobs with every change. This may be bad news for those who rely on the food production sector for income, making jobs harder to come by.
But the picture is not all bleak. A number of other companies have been seeing great success, particularly those who source local ingredients or are able to swallow the increased prices from their particular suppliers. There have been many reports in recent months of expansions and new site openings, and there will be more to come throughout the year.