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MP and union bosses call for talks over Tulip pork factory closure plans

By Peter Madeley | Tipton | Business | Published:

Shaun Bailey MP says he is planning talks with Tulip bosses over the shock move to close down the firm’s Tipton factory.

Tulip Ltd could close its factory in George Henry Road, Great Bridge, Tipton

More than 640 jobs are at risk at the company’s pork manufacturing site in George Henry Road, Great Bridge, Tipton, after bosses unveiled plans to shift operations elsewhere.

The firm has launched a consultation over the proposals, which come after Tulip made a loss of £80 million in the year to the end of September following a £75.4m loss the year before.

Mr Bailey, the Conservative MP for West Bromwich West, has raised concerns over the plans, and says he is looking to make representations with the firm over the coming days.

He said: “It is a really disappointing situation. Tulip is a well established employer in Tipton, and given the fact that Tipton is such a vulnerable community, it is a shame that such a large employer is going.

“They are in a consultation period at the moment so it is a really uncertain time for staff. I will be working really closely with Tulip and with other agencies to make sure they get the support they need.

“I want to see Tulip stay in the area and I will be keeping close tabs on what they are doing to make sure workers get a fair shot during the consultation period and are treated fairly and supported properly.

“I will be speaking with Tulip and fighting to make sure that whatever happens, workers are treated fairly.”

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Workers were told of the news yesterday by bosses at Tulip

Union bosses have also demanded talks over the plans. Unite, which has more than 200 members at the site, said the news was “devastating” for the workforce.

Regional officer Rick Coyle said: “I will be seeking urgent talks with the management to see what can be done to save this site and also what redeployment opportunities there may be.

“Unite’s top priority will be the welfare of our members and their families at this difficult time – we will be giving them maximum support in the days and weeks ahead.”

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Mr Coyle added that discussions with shop stewards at the site were planned for tomorrow.

Tulip has been in the midst of a turnaround after successive years of pre-tax losses, with continuing investment in plant and machinery, despite sales flattening out at £1.06 billion.

It said in its annual report that the lack of certainty over Brexit was a key issue and the main area of risk due to labour availability. More than 50 per cent of the company's workforce comes from European Union countries.

In 2018 a £1 million investment was made in putting in a new state-of-the-art mincing line at the Tipton meat processing factory by then parent group Danish Crown to improve efficiency, and increase output at the plant which processes both frozen and fresh mince meat.

Tulip said then that it was confident that the line would help it "to attract further business in the years ahead".

Last year the firm was bought by the Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation from Europe’s largest pork processor Danish Crown for £290m.

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Peter Madeley

By Peter Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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