Vow to help Peterborough workers facing redundancy as soup factory prepares for closure

The Hain Daniels New Covent Garden Soup factory in Peterborough.
The Hain Daniels New Covent Garden Soup factory in Peterborough.
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Action has been pledged to help 80 workers who are poised to lose their jobs with the closure of a soup manufacturer in Peterborough.

Bosses of American-owned Hain Daniels New Covent Garden Soup have announced the factory at Westwood Farm, located in the city’s Ravensthorpe ward, will shut by the end of the year.

Thirty workers have already been made redundant and left the company on June 1.

The remaining 50 workers will leave by the end of the year.

News of the pending closure of the factory, which has been on the site for 22 years, has been met with sadness by the city’s political leaders who have also vowed to try to help staff find new employment.

Conservative Councillor Wayne Fitzgerald, deputy leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “It is always unfortunate when job losses are announced.

“Our services will do what they can to help people looking for work.”

Steve Bowyer, chief executive of economic development company Opportunity Peterborough (OP) said: “Opportunity Peterborough stands by to assist Hain Daniels in whatever way it can as it supports those whose jobs are affected.

“The closure of Hain Daniels Group’s Peterborough site is very sad news for the city and, of course the people working there: it has been an important feature of the city’s economy.

“It is clear, however, that this was an internal business decision based on commercial pressures rather than a reflection on Peterborough.

“Although the city is not immune to commercial decisions like this, it is still one of the fastest growing cities in the UK and continues to attract significant investor interest.”

Labour Councillor Ed Murphy, a representative for Ravensthorpe ward, said: “I’m extremely sorry for those who face the personal disaster of losing their jobs.

“I will urge the local authority to do what it can to bring alternative employment uses to the site.”

The company revealed in a statement a week ago it had decided to transfer its operations to its Grimsby site after carrying out a review of its fresh soup business.

The statement read: “We regret to announce our decision to close the soup manufacturing facility in Peterborough.

“This is not a decision we have taken lightly and is in no way a reflection on the dedication and hard work of our colleagues based at this site.

“However, despite our best efforts to find a sustainable route to keeping our Peterborough site open, it isn’t a viable option for the longer term, and we will now commence the phased transfer of manufacturing to our site in Grimsby.

“We will continue to discuss all options available to our colleagues.”