Weetabix to shut its landmark Corby factory

Weetabix is to close one of its two bases in Corby.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 7th September 2018, 7:36 am
Weetabix 1 in Earlstrees Road, Corby
Weetabix 1 in Earlstrees Road, Corby

The iconic British breakfast brand is shutting its Weetabix One plant in the former British Sealed Beams factory in Earlstrees Road and consolidating its Corby business to its more modern factory a couple of hundred metres down the road.

It may result in redundancies although both Weetabix and union bosses say they are trying to keep these to a minimum.

A Weetabix spokesman said: “As part of our long-term investment strategy we are proposing to upgrade our hot oat cereal, flake and extruded product lines at Corby into a single modern factory on the same site. The investment will help us meet increased demand for our products and support our long-term growth.

Weetabix factory 2

“The plans are at an early stage and could mean the loss of a small number of roles, so we are currently evaluating options with our employees to minimise any potential impact. As and when a decision is taken, we will work closely with our customers and suppliers to keep them updated and avoid any disruption during the upgrade works.”

The two Corby Weetabix factories are two of four in the UK. There are also large bases at Burton Latimer and Ashton-Under-Lyne in Manchester.

The union USDAW, which represents hundreds of workers at the plant, says it is hoping that there will be no compulsory redundancies and that its representatives have been working hard with Weetabix bosses to secure the jobs of its members.

An USDAW spokesman said: “We have been in consultation talks with the company about the possible closure of Weetabix One.

Car headlamps being produced at the new £500,000 British Sealed Beams factory. One of the first pictures taken in the factory shows Ellen Bindley and Eleanor Savage stacking up the lamps as they come off the assembly line. It was hoped that the factory would employ 400 people, mostly women.

“Weetabix Two is expanding and bringing with it more jobs.

“It could result in some redundancies but there is the possibility of some transfer of workers.

“We are in discussion about redeployment opportunities.”

Although it has its origins in Australia, the firm started its UK operations in a disused flour mill in Burton Latimer in 1932.

British Sealed Beams was opened in the Earlstrees Road factory in the 1960s but closed in the 1970s. NNL-180609-130043005

In recent years the company has changed hands several times and, most recently after Weetabix failed to catch on in China, was sold by Shanghai-based Bright Food to US firm Post Holdings for £1.4bn.

In January 2017 the firm announced it was to invest £30m into improving its factories in Corby and Burton Latimer.

Weetabix One is based in the former Corby Sealed Beams factory which opened its Rockingham Road base in 1960 but closed in 1976 after demand for the lighting units dwindled, leading to the loss of 500 jobs.