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The manufacturer said it was continuing to ‘face industry challenges and lower than expected market volumes’

Pilgrim’s Food Masters has announced plans to close its Dean Way factory in Southall, west London, with up to 260 jobs at risk.

The JBS-owned manufacturer said its decision to shutter the factory, which specialises in the production of own label ready meals for the likes of Morrisons, Aldi and Waitrose, followed a continuation of “industry challenges and lower than expected market volumes”.

“In light of these market conditions – and in order to ensure business continuity and protect jobs – we have had no choice but to review the shape of our business,” said the company statement. Pilgrim’s will now enter a statutory 45-day consultation with staff at the site.

“Following a thorough assessment, we have identified ways to maximise the capacity across our sites and are proposing to consolidate our total ready meals volume into Attleborough and Windmill Lane,” the statement outlined. “This unfortunately means the proposed closure of our Dean Way site.”

The business closed a nearby factory, at Collett Way last year citing “challenging market conditions”, prompting a series of walkouts by staff.

According to the GMB union which represents Pilgrim’s staff, up to 1,000 workers had previously been faced with a fire and rehire policy at the company’s London factories, but after pressure from GMB members, bosses withdrew that threat.

“GMB has serious concerns about how this will impact on our members and the local community with the job losses,” said Gavin Davies, GMB senior organiser. “With the previous closure of Collett Way, a further closure to Dean Way has come as a massive blow to our members.

Read more: Pilgrim’s Pride brings in ‘boys from Brazil’ for ‘brutal’ £4.2bn restructure

“GMB will fight tooth and nail for workers to be paid every penny they are due,” Davies added.

Pilgrim’s Food Masters said it would be supporting all those affected and that it intended to redeploy colleagues to a neighbouring site where possible.

The plans come amid a wider restructure of JBS’s Pilgrim’s Pride business across Europe, with the aim of driving further integration between Pilgrim’s UK, Pilgrim’s Food Masters and Moy Park, under a new Pilgrim’s Europe operation.

It is led by Pilgrim’s UK’s president Ivan Siqueira, who was appointed to a new strategic role as president of Pilgrim’s Europe last November.

The Grocer reported in January the protein giant had created a new team of 15 senior execs, who would be tasked with scoping out a future integrated operating model. However, many execs at the individual businesses were facing an uncertain future, according to one whistleblower.

A spokeswoman for Pilgrim’s UK last week told The Grocer the restructure was ongoing.