WORKERS at a Uttoxeter biscuit factory are facing an uncertain future after owners announced around 250 jobs were at risk. Of 780 people employed at Fox's Biscuits in Cheadle Road, around 250 are likely to be made redundant. A further 50 jobs in distribution centres in both Uttoxeter and Wakefield are also likely to be axed.
Union Unite said the news of the redundancies was a “massive blow” to the workforce and said it would be giving “maximum support” to members at Uttoxeter in the coming days.
2 Sisters Food Group owns Fox’s Biscuits which also operates manufacturing sites at Batley in West Yorkshire and Kirkham in Lancashire.
In a statement the firm said; “Fox’s Biscuits has recently committed to a major investment plan to maximise new growth and commercial opportunities.
“As part of this plan, we have informed colleagues there are a number of tough decisions to make as we review manufacturing capabilities to give us the best possible chance of sustained success.
“Regrettably, our loss-making site in Uttoxeter requires urgent attention and biscuit production lines need re-configuring to ensure it has a longer-term, viable future.
“This means we will be entering into consultation with our colleagues around proposals to restructure the site.
“Around 250 roles will be at risk of redundancy.
“Additionally, a smaller number of colleagues, around 50, at our Uttoxeter and Wakefield distribution centres will also enter into consultation as we explore proposals to out-source this warehousing work.
“Our key priority now is to hold meaningful discussions with all affected colleagues and their representatives and ensure we explore all possible options before coming to any final decisions.”
Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said the union was set to meet with shop stewards and management on Friday, March 22 and would comment fully once they had studied the business case in detail.
“The news that the management at Fox’s Biscuits is planning to reduce the 700-strong workforce at the Uttoxeter site in East Staffordshire by up to 240 jobs by August this year is a massive blow to the workforce, their families and the regional economy.
“It will cause real economic pain.
“Nationally, we are pressing for an urgent meeting with the parent company, 2 Sisters Food Group.
“Unite will be giving maximum support to our hundreds of members at Uttoxeter in the days and weeks ahead at what is a difficult time for the workforce.”
Biscuit production has been a key source of employment in Uttoxeter for more than 100 years.
Charles Henry Elkes, baker and confectioner launched a shop in Carter Street in 1908 and later in High Street before opening the Dove Valley Bakers in 1928.
The firm produced Elkes Malted Milk biscuits – the first of its kind – and London Assorted Biscuits and the business later became CH Elkes and Sons Ltd, Biscuit and Cake Manufacturers.
In the 1930s the business expanded again with the addition of the Dove Valley Cafe and Elkes Cafe.
By the 1990s, the Elkes Biscuit factory employed around 1,600 people. It became part of the Fox’s Biscuits brand in 2003.
We are the only family run, independent newspaper and magazine business in Staffordshire, established 1896. We are home to three weekly newspapers – The Cheadle and Tean Times (aka The Stunner), The Uttoxeter Echo and The Blythe and Forsbrook Times.
We also produce Peeps into the Past, a bi-monthly nostalgic glimpse into our photographic archives, and three bi-monthly glossy lifestyle magazines – Stone and Eccleshall Life, Leek Life and Newcastle Life.
T. 01538 752214 or 753162
18 Tape Street, Cheadle, Staffs ST10 1BD
T. 01889 562479
5 Church Street, Uttoxeter, Staffs ST14 8AG (Uttoxeter Office is a postal address only)