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Support for sugar staff


A director of Silver Spoon says the company will do all it can to help staffmade redundant when it closes its packaging plant at Newark’s British Sugar Factory this summer.

The supply director, Mr John Power, told Newark and Sherwood District Council’s scrutiny committee on Wednesday there would be 57 redundancies, but 37 workers would be offered jobs at its plant in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

He said a further 12 people could be taken on by British Sugar in Newark or move to one of its other sites at Bardney, Lincolnshire.

Mr Power said: “We are offering an attractive relocation package for anyone who works here and wants to move to Bury. We will take people who are interested down with their families and help them with things like house hunting.

“If I can take an experienced engineer from Newark to Bury I would like to do that.”

He said they planned to take on a professional company to offer employment advice to those made redundant and help update their CVs.

They would also work in partnership with the local Jobcentre Plus.

“We will be offering a redundancy package that’s significantly better than the statutory one,” Mr Power said.

He said out of the staff at the packaging plant, 69 were permanent and eight were temporary.

After a review of operations, it was announced in October that Silver Spoon planned to relocate its packaging plant to Bury St Edmunds.

Mr Power said the market for retail sugar had been declining by 4% per year since the 1990s.

He said they had looked at several options other than closing but this was the only way.

Mr Power said they would transfer some of the production to British Sugar and he was keen to emphasise the Newark factory would be unaffected.

The factory manager, Mr Robert Howe,told the meeting: “Our production volume will remain unchanged.”

It is expected most redundancies will be made in the summer. Packaging lines will start to be relocated from July.

Mrs Gill Dawn asked why Silver Spoon could not close its plant in Bury St Edmunds and relocate to Newark.

“Bury is a little bit out of the way. Their roads are not quite the same as ours are. They are not central,” she said.

In reply, Mr Power said: “The facts are that our site at Bury was built far more recently whereas Newark is much older and it was never built to be a packaging plant for Silver Spoon.

“Ideally I would like to have consolidated the two in Newark. It has got good links. If costs were the same and there was more space to expand here I would have chosen Newark.”

Mr Power said the closure was by no means a reflection on the staff.

“People in Newark have got a great attitude,” he said.

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