THERE could be hope for the future of Newport’s Avana Bakeries and its hundreds of employees as the consultation period comes to an end amid claims of new contracts on the horizon.

On Friday, February 7, Avana Bakeries in Rogerstone announced it was entering a 45-day consultation period after losing its contract with Marks & Spencer which amounted to 85 per cent of its business.

The 45-day period ends today, with claims of two new possible supermarket contracts. Should these contracts go ahead, some of the 650-strong staff may be saved from redundancy.

John James, organising regional secretary, of the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union, said the company was trying to get new business in and claimed an Aldi Christmas order had been secured and that talks were ongoing with another supermarket chain.

He said: “They are talking to other companies and we’re hoping to have some information soon but until then everyone is in limbo.”

Avana Bakery was acquired by 2 Sisters Food Group Ltd in 2011, which employs the 650 staff in the production of supermarket own-label cakes.

Speaking to the 2 Sisters group yesterday – a spokesman said discussions were ongoing and they expected the consultation to continue beyond the 45 days.

Rosemary Butler AM said: “I understand that Avana Bakery is in talks with a major supermarket chain with the possibility of securing a contract.

“As the 45 day consultation period comes to an end, I am hopeful the senior management team at Avana Bakery is able to secure its future and safeguard as many of the 650 jobs as possible.”