Belfast Telegraph

350 jobs could be axed after pizza firm loses Tesco contract

Hundreds of jobs are at risk at a Nottingham food factory after a contract with supermarket giant Tesco was lost, a union has said.

Unite claims that up to 350 production staff could be axed at The Pizza Factory after a contract to make chilled pizzas for the Big Four grocer came to a close.

It is understood that discussions are at an early stage and efforts will be made to prevent job losses by securing new contracts or redeploying workers to other roles in the business.

The union said it was aiming to hold talks on Friday with The Pizza Factory, which employs 1,150 staff and is owned by the 2 Sisters Food Group.

"This is very bad news for the workers and their families, and a hammer blow for the wider Nottingham economy," Unite regional officer Andy Shaw said.

"It is early days and details about the scale of the job losses remain unclear, as does a time frame for any redundancies. We expect a full briefing when we meet the management on Friday," he added.

Unite said it will explore options for affected members, including redeployment and voluntary redundancy. About 450 factory staff are members of the union.

A spokesman for the 2 Sisters Food Group said: " We can confirm the loss of a customer own-label pizza contract to another supplier, which will end in February 2017.

"Our immediate priority will be to mitigate this loss and explore other opportunities to gain new business. However, this does mean we will need to start formal consultations with colleagues and their representatives.

"Clearly this is disappointing news, but we will continue to explore all other options available to us."

2 Sisters, which owns the Fox's Biscuits and Goodfella's pizza brands, employs about 23,000 people across 45 sites in the UK, Republic of Ireland, Netherlands and Poland.

It supplies a third of all poultry consumed in the UK, earning its founder and boss Ranjit Singh Boparan the nickname ''chicken king''.

Its customers include Aldi, Asda, Co-op, KFC, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose.