Originally Posted By: Liverpool Echo
Tulip job losses: M&S to blame say workers
Jan 8 2009 by Neil Hodgson, Liverpool Echo

WORKERS claim Marks & Spencer’s decision to close 25 of its Simply Food stores has cost more than 300 Merseyside employees their jobs.

Meat processor Tulip International, which supplies the high street giant, summoned staff to their Bromborough canteen yesterday where manager Peter Judge told them the plant would shut.

Work will be transferred to sister sites in Kings Lynn and Boston, Lincolnshire.

The company said the closure was due to “overcapacity in the food sector, combining with the economic climate”.

It denied the closure was linked to the M&S announcement yesterday morning.

But one worker, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “It is due to Marks & Spencer closing so many of their stores. We are a meat supply specialist.

“We were told to stop production lines at 1.10pm yesterday and to go to a meeting in the canteen.

“Mr Judge, who was up from head office for wage negotiations, told us we were on 90 days’ notice.

“Everyone was very shocked.

“A lot of mothers and sons and families work here, so there will be a knock-on effect.”

More than 10 years ago, Wirral council fought for grant funding to keep Tulip in the area when it announced the closure of its two factories in New Brighton and Moreton, previously Jaka plants.

Work started on the £12m Bromborough factory in April 1997.

Franny Joyce from Unite the Union today vowed to fight the closure.

He said: “We will not take Tulip’s plans to close this site lying down.

“We owe it to our members and their families who are angry, bitter and devastated, to do everything in our power to fight these proposals.

“We are seeking clarity on the rationale behind this decision and an explanation why this factory is being closed down.

“Only two years ago, this loyal workforce implemented new shift patterns which dramatically reduced costs and increased efficiency at Bromborough.”

Mr Judge informed Wirral council about the closure plans yesterday.

He said: “Clearly this News is a devastating blow to everyone at the site. However, I can assure you it is in no way a reflection on the skill of the team here.”

Bromborough councillor Steve Niblock said: “I am told by the company this is a manifestation of the credit crunch and it is difficult for everybody.

“I have contacted the council to look at what support can be offered to those affected in terms of the transition and job-seeking.