Turkey giant Bernard Matthews is planning to make around 50 redundancies at its cooked meats division, blaming rising commodity prices and the rough retail environment.
The company has entered a 30-day consultation process with staff at its Great Whitchingham site in Norfolk. It claims the redundancies are required to ensure the business is as efficient as possible and to ensure a sustainable future for the whole workforce.
“We are constantly looking at ways of making the business better able to cope with the challenging and highly competitive economic environment,” human resources director Andrew Sherwood said.
The news is the latest in a string of events which have prompted claims the company is in crisis.
In April, UK MD Rob Mears (pictured) stepped down and earlier this month, chairman David McCall left the company. Chief executive Noel Bartram also stepped down from his position for “health reasons” but will remain involved in the company, according to a company spokesman.
As a result, David Joll - who headed up the company between 1987 and 2005 - has been parachuted in as executive chairman to take over the day-to-day running of the company supported by the management team.
He would “lead the repositioning and investment process being managed by PwC who are evaluating a range of options to accelerate the company’s growth,” the spokesman said. Existing banking facilities remained unchanged and were in place until December 2015, he added.
In the year to July 2012, profits stood at £2m, on sales of £343.4m.
Matthews has been plagued by a number of PR disasters in recent years including the discovery of avian influenza at one of its UK farms in 2007. Jamie Oliver also waged a campaign against the company’s Turkey Twizzlers.