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Farron calls on Heinz to stay committed to Kendal

June 27, 2013 10:08 AM

TF KendalSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has held a meeting with representatives from Heinz over plans to shed staff from their factory at Kendal. At the meeting Tim and South Lakeland District Councillors David Evans and Jonathan Brook sought re-assurances that the company remains fully committed to the site.

The job losses were announced after Heinz decided to transfer its production of infant milks for the Chinese market to New Zealand, enabling them to reduce production costs and enter the lucrative Chinese e-commerce sector.

While accepting the need for the company to pursue more competitive options in this area, Tim was determined to ensure the best possible settlement for local people, and welcomed the voluntary redundancy packages Heinz will now offer as they seek to avoid any compulsory redundancies. He was also keen to underline the vital role the factory plays as an employer in South Lakeland, and pressed the need for continued investment in the facility.

Commenting, Tim said: "Heinz Kendal is an extremely important part of our community, and the staff there are incredibly hard working and professional. In the last few weeks I have been working with SLDC and the trade unions to do all we can to help employees. I will keep fighting to protect the factory and its long term future in Kendal. I will be challenging the council to do all they can to help people leaving voluntarily and help them do whatever they wish to in the future.

"It was very encouraging to hear about the investments in hygiene and specialist products which the company are making for the future, and we are very keen to impress upon them how valuable their presence is to our local economy. It's vitally important that this does not represent a pattern of downsizing.

"I was determined to ensure Heinz recognised that the most important people in all this are the people whose livelihoods are affected and that a sustainable future for the factory is guaranteed"