Jobs to go at giant Wednesbury bakery

Redundancies are planned at bakery company Warburtons' Wednesbury site.

The Warburtons bakery at Moorcroft Drive, Wednesbury
The Warburtons bakery at Moorcroft Drive, Wednesbury

It is thought that a shift may be axed at the 185,000 sq ft bakery at Moorcroft Drive.

It comes as the bakery giant has announced a total investment of £56 million to enhance its manufacturing capabilities and distribution network.

The Wednesbury bakery, which was rebuilt after being destroyed by a fire in 2004, employs around 400 and is capable of producing 2.25 million loaves a day.

The company, which has not confirmed how many jobs are at risk, issued a statement saying: “Over the last few years we have seen consumers tastes change, which has meant a decline in bread sales as people switch to other wrapped bakery products, such as rolls, crumpets, bagels, muffins and thins.

“These changes have had an impact on the hours required of our bread plant crews and, as a result, we have made the difficult decision to enter a period of consultation to review our crewing requirements at our Wednesbury Bakery.

“As a family business, we know how hard it is to hear this news, and we are working closely with our people and their representatives to explore all alternatives to minimise the potential impact of the proposal where possible. We are continuing to provide support and guidance to those impacted during this challenging time.”

Investment

Bolton-based Warburtons, which dates back to 1876, says increasing its capabilities will ensure it can meet growing consumer demand for non-bread bakery products.

By maximising its distribution network, Warburtons aims to be able to deliver two million products within 12 hours to stores to ensure optimal freshness.

The investment programme will see £28 million go towards the development of three new distribution depots in Widnes, Bognor Regis and Banbury, creating 150 jobs. These will replace Warburtons’ three existing sites in Speke, Waterlooville and Buckingham.

The project is also made up of a new £18 million thin bagels line at its Stockton bakery site, which was announced previously in March and will be operational in June 2022. Meanwhile, £8 million will be invested into a new crumpet line at its Burnley bakery, which will be operational in October 2021.

Remaining funds will go towards an infrastructure investment including the introduction of new electric vehicles to improve the company’s environmental credentials and significantly upgrading the technology used across its entire distribution network nationwide.

Over the past decade, Warburtons has invested more than £400 million in its network of 11 bakeries and 18 depots across the UK.

The business is also investing in improving the environmental credentials of its fleet of almost 1,000 vehicles by introducing new electric and compressed natural gas vehicles and significantly upgrading the technology used across the entire distribution network.

Warburtons is actively run by the fifth generation of the Warburton family and delivers its 90-strong product portfolio direct to 20,000 stores a day.

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