Holton escapes Bernard Matthews job cuts

TURKEY producer Bernard Matthews this week announced 90 job losses at its Norfolk head office following a review of the company's operations - but jobs at Holton are not affected.

Turkey producer Bernard Matthews this week announced 90 job losses at its Norfolk head office - but jobs at the company's Holton complex are not affected.

It is the latest stage in attempts to revitalise flagging sales and return the business to profitability.

Only days earlier it emerged that the company was looking to sell its sandwich business to Kerry Foods in a move that would lead to the loss of 250 jobs.

Kerry plans to take over the business, retaining its customer orders but closing down its unit in Dunstable and nationwide van network.

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Bernard Matthews has conducted a complete review of its operations with the help of accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The company's strategy will now be to focus on turkey farming and production.

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As part of the review it plans to cut its workforce, with up to 90 jobs at its Great Witchingham HQ expected to go. But workers at production sites at Holton and Witchingham are unaffected by the review, which will leave the company with around 2,800 workers across Norfolk and Suffolk.

The job losses follow a torrid time for the company, which was hit badly by the outbreak of bird flu on its Holton farm nearly a year ago, as well as the Turkey Twizzlers controversy involving celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

Bernard Matthews chief executive Noel Bartram said the job losses were regrettable but necessary to help return the business to profitability.

The company says it performed well over the crucial Christmas period.

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