UPDATED: Hundreds of jobs could go at food manufacturer

Solway Foods in Corby
Solway Foods in Corby

It has been confirmed that 900 jobs are at risk at Corby’s Solway Foods.

Corby MP Andy Sawford said he had met with representatives at Solway Foods in Princewood Road in the town to talk about the future of the site.

But he said that the firm - Corby’s second largest employer - had admitted that the Corby site is ageing and a 45 day consultation into the future of their operations in Corby had begun.

He said: “I have spoken with representatives of Solway Foods today. My thoughts are with the 900 strong workforce who will now all be very worried about the future of their jobs.

“This news comes as a shock. Solway operate in a very competitive market, they have recently lost some customers and they tell me the Corby site is ageing.

“Solway have told me that they will consider all possibilities, including options for staying in Corby, and I have offered to help in anyway I can. I have arranged urgent talks with Solway’s Chief Executive, Veepul Patel at 10.00 on Monday morning.”

Last month the Northants Telegraph told how workers had voted in favour of strike action in a row over working conditions and shift changes.

Then police confirmed they were investigating a deliberate act of sabotage after metal was found in food before it left the site.

But this news still comes as a surprise.

If the factory closes it will be the largest single workforce loss in Corby since the closure of the steelworks in 1980.

This afternoon representatives of Solway Foods, which is owned by 2 Sisters Food Group, said that closure of the site was a possibility.

A spokesman said: “It is with much regret that we can confirm the business is entering into consultations about the future of our Solway Foods production site in Corby. The consultation will explore all possibilities and options available to us, but there is a risk of closure of the site.

“Despite considerable investment over the past two years, our current assessment is that on-going additional funding is required just to keep pace with the demands of a modern high-care food production.

The scale of this continuing investment means the site would potentially not be viable in the long term. In addition, the complexity of serving a wide customer base with an ever-increasing product mix is not a viable proposition for the future.

“We are totally committed to the long-term production of the highest quality food for customers, but this must be in a sustainable and responsible way.

“Our immediate priority now is to have meaningful discussions with our colleagues during this consultation period to see if other solutions can be found to help them in any way we can.”

Leader of Corby Council Cllr Tom Beattie said that the news was a real blow to Corby’s economy.

He said: “It’s a real concern.

“I will be going along to the meeting on Monday with Andy Sawford and we will be offering Solway any help we can to avoid the closure of the site.

“Although our economy in Corby is recovering, it is still very fragile and we have got to be aware of that. This is an indication we’re not out of the woods yet.”

The firm was started in Corby in the late 1980s and supplies chilled foods including sandwiches and prepared salads.

The first factory opened in 1989 and in 2008 a £10 million investment was made in the Corby plant to update the facilities.

Updates to follow.