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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 October, 2004, 10:54 GMT 11:54 UK
Jobs hope for Birds Eye workers
Birds Eye's Grimsby factory
Birds Eye's Grimsby factory will close early next year
Hundreds of workers at Grimsby's doomed Birds Eye plant will find new jobs at other food firms, a council boss says.

North East Lincolnshire Council is to meet Birds Eye bosses later this week following the announcement the Grimsby factory will close next year.

Ivan Hinchliffe, head of the council's economic regeneration agency, said: "We will be working with them to see what we can do for the workforce.

"We have growing food businesses in the town and they are looking for labour."

Image setback

Birds Eye parent company Unilever said on Thursday the ready meals plant in Grimsby will close early in 2005, with the loss of 600 jobs.

The site was said by Unilever to be too small to be competitive in the ready meals market.

Mr Hinchliffe admitted the loss of such a major name is a setback for a community which markets itself as a European hub for food production.

He said: "One of the dangers of the Birds Eye decision is that it might be perceived as the death knell for Grimsby as Europe's Food Town - but the real underlying trend is boom.

We are hoping to fix up hundreds of jobs for the workers in similar companies
Economic regeneration agency head Ivan Hinchliffe

"We can point to many other food companies which are expanding in the town."

He cited the example of Israeli company Soy Magic, which is building a new 3m factory on the town's Europarc business estate to produce soya milk, yoghurts and desserts.

And foods giant Geest recently unveiled plans to increase its presence in the town with a new development.

"We are hoping to fix up hundreds of jobs for the workers in similar companies throughout the town." said Mr Hinchliffe.




SEE ALSO:
Birds Eye town in plea for jobs
08 Oct 04  |  Humber
Poor weather hits Unilever sales
20 Sep 04  |  Business


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