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EDITIONS
Thursday, 26 September, 2002, 13:05 GMT 14:05 UK
Ice cream firm axes 320 workers
Wall's at Gloucester
This was once Europe's biggest ice cream factory
More than 300 jobs are to be cut from the Birds Eye Wall's factory at Gloucester.

The company announced 320 jobs would be shed over the next 12 months as part of a "restructuring programme" aimed at lowering costs.

The company's chairman, James Hill, said: "We regret that these plans will result in job losses.

"We will be working closely with the local union representatives and individual employees to resolve these challenges in a sensitive manner.

Wall's at Gloucester
773 factory employees
Operated since 1960
Produces 14 ice creams, including Cornetto and Magnum

"My heart goes out to the people who are going to lose their jobs."

The changes - part of a plan to cut costs by up to 12m a year - involve producing fewer ice cream products and moving from seven-day to five-day working week.

About 770 people are currently employed at the firm's ice cream manufacturing business at Gloucester.

In line with its commitments to trade unions, Birds Eye Wall's vowed there would be no compulsory redundancies before September 2003, except by agreement.

Wall's logo
Ice cream production will be reduced

"Those who leave the business will be offered a severance package well in excess of the statutory minimum," Mr Hill said.

Under the restructuring, Twister and Romantica ice creams will no longer be produced.

Volumes of some other ice creams, including the Magnum and Cornetto range, would be reduced.

Bird's Eye Wall's, part of the Unilever conglomerate, employs 4000 people across the UK at locations including Grimsby, Hull and Lowestoft.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Graham Gardner
"The chill wind of redundancy blows through the plant"

Click here to go to BBC Gloucestershire
See also:

20 Jul 00 | Business
09 Jun 99 | Business
29 Jul 98 | Business
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