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Hopes for dairy staff facing axe as Britian's biggest chicken processor comes forward with 100 vacancies

By James Pugh | Business | Published:

Britain’s biggest chicken processor has thrown a lifeline to workers in jeopardy following the collapse of a dairy business.

2 Sisters plant in Wolverhampton

Birmingham-based 2 Sisters Food Group has come forward with more than 100 vacancies at its Deeside plant, and plans to fast track former workers at Tomlinsons Dairies through the interview process.

Tomlinsons, which is based near Wrexham and has operations in Shropshire, Chester and across the north west, went into administration earlier this week, at the same time the 2 Sisters’ Sandycroft plant, in Deeside, was on the hunt for workers to fill up to 120 new roles at the site.

The plant has permanent, full-time vacancies at the chicken processing factory in a variety of roles ranging from packing, dispatch and preparation.

A spokesman for 2 Sisters Food Group, which also has chicken processing plants in West Bromwich and Wolverhampton, said: “While the news about our neighbouring dairy business is very sad, it is extremely fortunate that we can help out in this situation with the new opportunities we have currently at Sandycroft.

“There are a wide variety of roles available, and for the right individuals with the right skill sets and attitude, there are potentially some great careers at the business. In addition there are a variety of shift patterns to help fit around people’s busy lifestyles.”

Following the collapse of the dairy firm, NFU Cymru has been working to help affected farmers find a way through the process.

NFU Cymru received reports over the weekend that Tomlinsons had told its suppliers to find alternative processors for their milk. It is believed there are about 70 producers affected, many of whom are located in Wales.

Grateful

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NFU Cymru policy adviser, Dafydd Jarrett, said: “After the initial news broke it was clear the priority was finding an immediate home for the milk, which luckily we believe has been sorted for all of those impacted. We are grateful for the quick response from processors, retailers and hauliers to help sort this at such short notice.

“NFU Cymru is working tirelessly to support its members affected by this issue.

“We have already arranged a meeting so we can talk through the process face-to-face with those farmers affected.

“We are urgently asking any affected members to contact us and register their concerns, so that we can assist them however possible. It is vitally important that this process is handled carefully so that we can try and help members through this extremely difficult time."

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It is believed some of Tomlinsons farmer suppliers were on aligned contracts with Sainsbury’s and these have since been offered new contracts with Market Drayton-based dairy giant Müller to process their milk.

Tomlinsons, which employed more than 300 people, was established in 1983 when brothers Philip and John Tomlinson decided to diversify into liquid milk processing on their family farm in north Wales.

A spokesman for Tomlinsons said the family shareholders, directors and management are "devastated" and "sincerely regret its impact on their customers, suppliers, farmers and employees".

James Pugh

By James Pugh
@JamesP_Star

Shropshire Star Business and Farming Editor.

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