Corby Pom Bear factory could close with dozens of job losses

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A crisp manufacturer is proposing to close its Corby Pom Bear factory with the potential loss of 83 jobs.

KP Snacks Limited have announced they are planning to stop production at the site in Pasteur Courtyard, Corby, early next year, as well as at a site in County Durham.

The firm say that production of Pom Bears will move to its Teesside factory as a result of the integration of KP Snacks and Intersnack UK.

The plans are not yet set in stone, and employees have begun a 45 day consultation period.

Corby MP Andy Sawford says he has requested urgent talks with the Neil Bunker, chief executive of KP Snacks, to try to keep production in Corby.

Mr Sawford said: “I’ve requested to speak to him today (Friday) to see if we can talk about the prospect of keeping the factory open and to see what we can provide to help that happen.

“I have spoken to Tom Beattie, leader of Corby Borough Council, and Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership who were very helpful when the Solway Factory proposals were announced.

“Hopefully we can provide as much assistance as possible to the company and workers.

“If we are not able to keep the jobs in Corby we will look at how best we can support the employees to find jobs.

“What we found with Solway was that it’s important to take quick action, to get the job centre in there straight away and start providing help with CVs and job searching.”

A statement from KP Snacks said: “KP Snacks can confirm that we have informed our colleagues at our Consett and Corby factories that, regrettably, in order to develop a sustainable and competitive manufacturing operation, we are proposing to close the sites and to transfer the production to other sites in our network.

“We operate in an increasingly competitive market and need to focus on our cost base in order to develop a sustainable business. Unfortunately, despite plans to grow our POM-BEAR business, our Corby factory is capacity constrained and has been for some time.

“Now KP Snacks and Intersnack UK have integrated to form a larger UK business, we have the opportunity to expand our POM-BEAR business in the most cost-efficient manner at our larger Teesside site. In addition, after many years of working hard to try and grow our Consett volume, and despite the growth of Phileas Fogg, the under-utilisation of the site has created an unsustainable situation.

“We have 1,800 employees in the UK and have invested £30m across our sites over the past 18 months. We are committed to keeping a manufacturing base and maintaining as many jobs as we can in the UK and we are working to ensure we do this in the most effective way, allowing us to ensure a sustainable future for our overall business.

“We very much appreciate the hard work, commitment and focus on quality of our Corby and Consett colleagues during this difficult time and we will work closely with them as we consult on this proposal in the coming weeks. These are only proposals at this stage and are subject to the appropriate consultation with our colleagues. No final decisions have yet been made.”

Corby UKIP MEP Margot Parker said: “I see Mr Sawford has pledged to meet management at KP.

“That’s all well and good but he also met Solway Foods managers and what happened there?

“Corby has a long and proud tradition of food production – this seems a betrayal of those workers.”