THE NEWSDESK: Workers facing the human cost of Avana's job losses

Avana Bakeries have been saved from closure. Pictured is the Avana Bakeries sign on Wern Industrial Estate. (8025892)

Rogerstone's Avana Bakeries will be closing and that there will be a number of job losses. Pictured is the Avana Bakeries company logo on the front of the main pedestrian employee gate. (5198373)

THE NEWSDESK: Workers facing the human cost of Avana's job losses

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First published in News by

IT'S going to be a difficult autumn for the 390 workers being made redundant from Avana Bakeries in Rogerstone.

The difficulties of making ends meet, paying the bills, paying the mortgage, finding new jobs, and all coming after months of uncertainty.

Whatever the economic realities this company has been dealing with, its 390 staff are the ones who have endured months of hopes being raised by a buy-out only to be dashed last week.

I've said before in this column that it made no sense to me for a factory as large as this to be previously operating on one, single contract.

It also makes no sense to me that now that the bad news has been delivered to staff, the bosses of this firm are refusing to front up and speak to the media in the area.

Because whatever individual businesses may think about their own decisions, when they affect the livelihoods of 400 people in an area, and will obviously have a knock-on effect on spending in other shops and businesses, they need to be explained.

Not just to the staff involved, but to the wider community involved.

And, make no bones about it, with almost 400 job losses, this does involve the whole community.

It is simply no good firms such as this believing they can operate in a kind of bubble.

Loyal staff, many of whom have worked at the plant for many years, some generations of the same family who have worked alongside one another, deserve better.

This community deserves better.

One worker, Phil Barnes-Lewis, 42, of Rogerstone, told the Argus the workforce is left angry and disappointed.

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

“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.”

The human cost of business decisions is not something the firm's owners are going to have to face - it is something Mr Barnes-Lewis and his colleagues are staring in the face,

Perhaps it is time for us all to start looking long and hard at other models of business - partnership models such as John Lewis, forms of co-operative.

Something where firms are not merely accountable to stockholders who may well have no investment in the community whatsoever.

Something which provides workers, who live and work in the community, with a real say.

WHAT a shock to the system Peter Capaldi's Doctor must be to those born after 1990.

To those who haven't had the benefit of Jon Pertwee or William Hartnell as a previous template.

But I love it. Capaldi is Glasgow scary, prickly, and, young sidekick, "not your boyfriend".

There were some great one-liners in Saturday's season opener.

Capaldi exclaimed: "I am Scottish I have gone Scottish", and now. "I can complain about things".

And my favourite: "These are attack eyebrows."

Menacing organ-harvesting robots ripping out a bloke's eyes, action-heroine lizard woman and her partner, and a dinosaur.

Come on, people, how can you not like that?

A peak of 7.3 million viewers tuned in to watch the feature-length opening episode.

There was an average of 6.8 million viewers across the whole programme and the show attracted 33 per cent of all viewers who were watching TV during that time slot.

Now isn't that what prime time TV should be all about? An event for all the family - not just the kids.

Those of us who are a certain age are going to enjoy being back behind that sofa on Saturdays.

Comments (4)

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4:21pm Sun 24 Aug 14

Katie Re-Registered says...

"The difficulties of making ends meet, paying the bills, paying the mortgage, "

That's if any worker in Wales can afford to even put down a mortgage nowadays with the average price being a whopping £19.000!
"The difficulties of making ends meet, paying the bills, paying the mortgage, " That's if any worker in Wales can afford to even put down a mortgage nowadays with the average price being a whopping £19.000! Katie Re-Registered
  • Score: 1

5:27pm Sun 24 Aug 14

Magor says...

Does anyone know why they lost the M&S contract ?
Does anyone know why they lost the M&S contract ? Magor
  • Score: 2

6:26pm Sun 24 Aug 14

Independentvoter says...

The management at Avana wouldn't know what organisational culture is even if it hit them in the face !

Any accreditations ? No

Need someone to do a SWOT analysis to save your business - Give me a ring lol
The management at Avana wouldn't know what organisational culture is even if it hit them in the face ! Any accreditations ? No Need someone to do a SWOT analysis to save your business - Give me a ring lol Independentvoter
  • Score: 1

11:17pm Sun 24 Aug 14

welshieboy says...

Independentvoter wrote:
The management at Avana wouldn't know what organisational culture is even if it hit them in the face !

Any accreditations ? No

Need someone to do a SWOT analysis to save your business - Give me a ring lol
I work at RF Brookes in Rogerstone which is failing too (it's also owned by 2 Sisters). The problem is the culture - nobody cares there anymore. The morale is incredibly bad. And the management is too weak. The lines run nowhere near their full capacity. Equipment either doesn't work properly or at all. They prefer to hire agency staff rather than taking on permanent as they can send them all home early when it goes quiet. Of course this causes lines to run slower as the agency staff lack experience - on their first day, they are literally put straight onto a line. I don't think they have any basic training. We are always running out of materials.

The reason why Avana ran on one larger contract is likely because of M&S. They are very fussy about being the majority customer. We also make products for Aldi, Weather Spoons, ASDA but I believe M&S don't like that. It's great they are bringing business to the factory, until they decide to pull out and leave all these jobs at risk.
[quote][p][bold]Independentvoter[/bold] wrote: The management at Avana wouldn't know what organisational culture is even if it hit them in the face ! Any accreditations ? No Need someone to do a SWOT analysis to save your business - Give me a ring lol[/p][/quote]I work at RF Brookes in Rogerstone which is failing too (it's also owned by 2 Sisters). The problem is the culture - nobody cares there anymore. The morale is incredibly bad. And the management is too weak. The lines run nowhere near their full capacity. Equipment either doesn't work properly or at all. They prefer to hire agency staff rather than taking on permanent as they can send them all home early when it goes quiet. Of course this causes lines to run slower as the agency staff lack experience - on their first day, they are literally put straight onto a line. I don't think they have any basic training. We are always running out of materials. The reason why Avana ran on one larger contract is likely because of M&S. They are very fussy about being the majority customer. We also make products for Aldi, Weather Spoons, ASDA but I believe M&S don't like that. It's great they are bringing business to the factory, until they decide to pull out and leave all these jobs at risk. welshieboy
  • Score: 3

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