Bernard Matthews: More than 50 cooked meats jobs under threat

More than 50 jobs are under threat in the cooked meats plant at Norfolk poultry producer Bernard Matthews.

A 30-day consultation with hourly and salaried staff is under way at the north site plant in Great Witchingham.

About 400 people are employed at the plant and all are involved in talks which are due to continue into June.

"We are under intense pressure from external cost factors, such as the global price of grain," human resources director Andrew Sherwood said.

"We are constantly looking at ways of making the business better able to cope with the challenging and highly competitive economic environment," he added.

New investment sought

"These structural changes are part of this process, as we continue to make the business as efficient as possible and ensure a sustainable future for the whole workforce."

The company has also made changes in senior management after group chief executive Noel Bartram decided to stand down because of "health concerns".

David Joll, who led the business from 1987 to 2005, returns as executive chairman and will take over the day-to-day running of the group.

The company is looking at new investment to accelerate growth with the help of management consultants and accountants PwC.

The company said in a statement: "Bernard Matthews has weathered the difficult retail environment in a sound position and has the full support of its shareholders and financial advisers."

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