Avana workers shocked by 390 job losses

SHOCKED: Avana workers are angry and disappointed

SHOCKED: Avana workers are angry and disappointed

First published in News
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WORKERS have been left angry and disappointed by confirmation this week that 390 jobs will be axed at Newport's Avana Bakeries.

The news comes after the Rogerstone business first announced in February it had lost a major contract with Marks & Spencer and might have to close its Rogerstone plant, which employs 650 people.

The factory was saved in July when new company Food Utopia Ltd bought the site from 2 Sisters Food Group Ltd.

Now, workers are waiting to find out who will be made redundant.

Phil Barnes-Lewis, 42, of Rogerstone, has worked at the bakery for seven years. He said his colleagues were ‘shocked’ at the number of jobs to go.

“I don’t know whether or not I am going to be one of the ones selected for redundancy,” he said yesterday.

“The new owners were conspicuous by their absence yesterday and today. No one put in an appearance yesterday when the announcement was made.

“There is a lot of disappointment.

"I don’t think anybody was shocked by the redundancies-but it is the number of them.

“Over the last couple of years they have been trying to get business with other suppliers- we did some work with Tesco’s two years ago- but it just didn’t take off.

“It is a big blow for people- 390 people are going to be out of work in a period of six weeks.

“That is a lot of people in the jobs market when there are only a tenth of jobs in the industry available

“It is going to be a massive blow- a lot of family units work there.”

John James, organising regional secretary of the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union, confirmed the 390 job losses earlier this week and said the redundancies will be made between September and November following a consultation period. The firm refused to comment when approached by the Argus.

“Some of them [the workers] have been angry since February so it is a bit of a down feeling at the moment,” he said.

Mr James said that 140 people would be kept on at the bakery and said talks with HR are ongoing.

He also added that workers will be offer support with C.V writing and skills to help them find future employment and said that other bakeries in the area such as Burtons Biscuits may offer employment to those made redundant.

John Griffiths AM for Newport East said: “I am disappointed at the announcement. That is a lot of jobs to go and a lot of people have worked there for quite some time.

“It is a significant blow to the area and for the people who have been affected. I hope workers who have lost their jobs get a full package of support in place so people can get advice on future job opportunities.

“The news was not a shock to me but came as a disappointment."

Lindsay Whittle AM for South Wales East said: “I think it is some terrible news for the 390 families. I think it is a shame that the bakery didn’t diversify earlier.

“They [Avana] shouldn’t have put all of their eggs in one basket."

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