MPs help for turkey workers

Norwich MPs Ian Gibson and Charles Clarke are the latest to offer support to workers laid off from Bernard Matthews factories in NorfolkThe two MPs have been meeting union leaders to discuss job losses at the world's largest turkey producer, and Dr Gibson plans to ask questions in the House of Commons next week about compensation for workers.

Norwich MPs Ian Gibson and Charles Clarke are the latest to offer support to workers laid off from Bernard Matthews factories in Norfolk

The two MPs have been meeting union leaders to discuss job losses at the world's largest turkey producer, and Dr Gibson plans to ask questions in the House of Commons next week about compensation for workers.

And on Saturday, Miles Hubbard, regional industrial organiser for the Transport and General Workers Union (T&G), met Yarmouth MP Tony Wright, and Bernard Matthews workers living in Yarmouth to discuss some of their concerns.

Bernard Matthews is expected to make some decisions next week about the future for staff at the factories.

So far, 130 workers from the Great Witchingham factory, near Norwich, have been laid off for four weeks, and there have been warnings about future layoffs.

The company has blamed "the H5N1 outbreak and the continuing uncertainty that has resulted in the subsequent reduction in the company's sales".

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Bird flu has not been found anywhere else in Britain apart from the company's farm at Holton, near Halesworth, where 160,000 turkeys had to be slaughtered. No jobs have yet been lost at Holton, although redundancies there have not been ruled out.

Mr Hubbard said: "We have been in touch with Ian Gibson and Charles Clarke today and had a very sympathetic hearing from both of them.

"It looks like things for the company are slowly picking up now in terms of sales and the order book. We are not out of the woods yet, but we have got people doing more work. The factory is still at over-capacity.

"On the basis that it looks like things are slightly better, they are holding off any decision until next week, which is good news."