Page last updated at 15:24 GMT, Wednesday, 2 July 2008 16:24 UK

Job losses at Chard food factory

Oscar Mayer Sign Chard
The company has said it will consider voluntary redundancies

Almost a third of the workforce at the Oscar Mayer food processing plant in Chard in Somerset will lose their jobs.

The company is currently based on two sites and it wants to reduce production lines to one, which means that 250 people face redundancy.

Oscar Mayer said it had no option if it was to remain profitable "in a climate of food ingredient inflation and rising energy costs".

The company maintains the job losses will help underpin long-term security.

Tony Dowling, of the GMB union, said: "It's an absolute shock. We've known that there have been redundancies pending for some time since the Icelandic company that were due to buy them pulled out of the deal.

"We understand there are specific problems around the factory itself and it's another blow for the town of Chard where the people have shown remarkable loyalty to Oscar Mayer over the years.

"We will be meeting them this evening to discuss the crisis."


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