17 May 2002

700 meat jobs to go at Glanbia UK

OVER 700 staff at Glanbias UK consumer meats division look set to be the latest victims in the cut-throat market-place that supplies the big food retailers.

The Irish food group is discussing the closure of Glanbia Consumer Meats, based in Milton Keynes and Bradford, with its 717 workers, although a spokesman said the move would likely happen "sooner rather than later".

Independent industry consultant Peter Crichton said the shutdown would be bad news for British pig farmers. "It is widely known that fresh meat abattoirs looking to add value are coming under a lot of pressure with a lot of people chasing the same job. If Glanbia is no longing buying pork for its cooked meats operation it is bound to have an impact."

He blames the falling UK kill for the problem. "Prices in the UK have been pushed up, which has made imports look more competitive. A company solely using home-grown meat would find it difficult to compete against a processor using product from abroad."

According to the companys most recent preliminary results, the performance of the subsidiary, which supplies sliced meats and other convenience foods to grocery multiples, improved during 2001, but it still posted what the spokesman described as "irredeemable losses".

Glanbias group managing director, John Moloney, said the move was regrettable, but there was little chance of the division trading out of its difficulties in the current market environment. &#42