Page last updated at 18:04 GMT, Tuesday, 15 April 2008 19:04 UK

Jobs to go at chicken factory

The rising costs of wheat and fuel have been blamed for the likely loss of 450 jobs at a chicken-processing factory.

Faccenda Group Ltd is cutting jobs in Sutton Benger, near Chippenham, Wiltshire under restructuring plans.

It is to invest 3m in its Brackley factory in Northamptonshire to make it one of Europe's biggest, and 2m in its factories in Telford and Dudley.

Managing director Ian Faccenda said the company needed to act now, to ensure it remained competitive in the future.

'Competitive market'

In a statement the company said the market for processing and supplying chicken was becoming increasingly challenging and that Faccenda must continue to cut costs if it was to remain competitive.

It said the company could meet the demand for chicken by using three sites rather than four by investing in new technology and equipment.

Mr Faccenda added: "We're operating in a very competitive market, where the cost of wheat and fuels has increased enormously in the past year.

"We have to make changes for the long-term health of our business.

"We recognise the high level of commitment and hard work shown by our staff at Sutton Benger, many of whom have been with us for a long time and we will do all we can to support them.

"While this has been a difficult decision for us to take, by restructuring now, we're strengthening the business for the future."

A 90-day consultation period about the restructuring process has now begun.

No-one from the trade union Unite, which represents some of the work force at Sutton Benger, was available for comment.

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