South West Wales

Swansea food factory closes with loss of over 230 jobs

The Swansea-based ready meals plant, Ethnic Cuisine
Image caption At one time 400 staff were employed at Ethnic Cuisine

A food factory in Swansea is to close with the loss of more than 230 jobs.

Ethnic Cuisine, which made Chinese ready meals, has confirmed that it stopped production a week ago after failing to agree terms with Sainsbury.

Owner Northern Foods said the workforce would be laid off and the site will close by the start of September.

Sainsbury, whose contract amounted to 90% of the factory's business, has previously said the agreement was no longer viable.

A Northern Foods spokeswoman said: "As announced in April, we were unable to secure viable terms with our main customer of the Swansea site and we have been in consultation with our employees at the site.

"Consultation has now ended and regrettably, the site will close by the start of September.

"Production ended on 6 August."

Leeds-based Northern Foods bought the plant, which operated 24 hours a day, in 2007.

About 60% of the workforce is Polish and translators had to be used to break the news.

The use of additional agency workers took the workforce to 400 during the winter, the peak demand season for the ready meals.

In April Sainsbury had said it held "extensive discussions" with Northern Foods, and "we came to the conclusion that our existing supply agreement on ethnic ready meals was no longer viable for either party".

It added at the time: "This kind of decision is not one we take lightly and we worked closely with Northern Foods throughout the process."

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