Manufacturer’s vow to foreign-born workers in Peterborough after pro-Brexit vote

The manufacturing plant at Safapac in Peterborough.
The manufacturing plant at Safapac in Peterborough.
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The boss of an innovative chemicals manufacturer in Peterborough has told how he took action to reassure foreign-born staff after the pro-Brexit vote.

Following the referendum vote to lave the EU, Barry Cornett, managing director of Safapac, in Stapledon Road, Orton Southgate, wrote to staff concerned for their future in the UK.

Laboratory analysis at Safapac, in Peterborough.

Laboratory analysis at Safapac, in Peterborough.

He said: “After the referendum there was a lot of concern among my staff about their future in the UK.

“Half my workforce is non-UK born with 35 per cent European and 15 from the rest of the world.”

“I sent a letter to them telling them I would do whatever needed to be done to keep them here.

He said: “Whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations business will make it work but I think staff retention and recruitment is going to be the main problem.”

Finding and keeping the right staff is a vital factor in the success of Safapac, which employs 66 people.

Recruitment is not just about qualifications but flexibility and willingness to cope with change.

The nature of the agrochemical market is seasonal and customers from international supply chains often request large amounts of production at very short notice.

Safapac needs staff for a range of tasks from chemists to warehouse operatives and currently has vacancies for six production staff and one laboratory staff plus two engineering apprentices.

Mr Cornett said: “It’s not just about academic qualifications. We work 24/7 seven days week. It’s intense and we need staff to be flexible. We are highly demanding and we find staff are either with us for many years or only stay for a short time.

“But the rewards we offer are good.”

The innovative nature of the Safapac’s work has already caught the eyes of some of the most powerful people in the land.

The company was honoured to feature in the annual Parliamentary Review of leading edge companies in the UK.

Mr Cornett said: “We are the ones we make it happen. We create the manufacturing process to produce the products for others.”

The 19-year-old company, which moved to Peterborough 10 years ago to a purpose-built £2.5 million manufacturing plant, has seen output rise by 50 per cent over three years to 10 million litres annually.

It offers a cutting edge laboratory-to-production process and is a significant exporter of insecticides, fungacides and miticides.

It sends its products to 50 countries across the world.

Safapac manufactures 200 different products.

Last year it opened a new £500,000 herbicide suspension plant and further expansion of its facilities is planned for the near future.