Union speaks out as Bernard Matthews owner ‘looks to transfer pension liability’ ahead of 2 Sisters sale

Bernard Matthews rebrand. New product packaging and logo. Pictures submitted.

Bernard Matthews rebrand. New product packaging and logo. Pictures submitted. - Credit: Archant

Unions have called for answers after reports that turkey giant Bernard Matthews could be preparing to transfer the company's pension liability to the Pension Protection Fund.

Rutland Partners, which owns the Norfolk and Suffolk company, has reportedly struggled to find a buyer because of concerns over the group's pension liability.

It appointed PriceWaterhouseCoopers earlier this summer to look for buyers for the troubled food producer, the UK's largest turkey processor.

A Sky News report cited unnamed sources which said that the company's pension fund could be transferred to the Pension Protection Fund - the body established to help people get their pensions from a company in the event of insolvency. The report said 2 Sisters Food Group is the front-runner to buy Bernard Matthews, but that talks have stalled over the pensions issue.

The union Unite, which has 450 members at Bernard Matthews' Norfolk and Suffolk sites, said staff needed answers.

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Regional office Mark Walker said: 'Media reports that Bernard Matthews could be sold by its current owners Rutland Partners to the 2 Sisters Food Group would cause uncertainty for staff, especially if it means that the pensions of the dedicated workforce being transferred to the Pension Protection Fund.

'Unite is seeking urgent clarification from Rutland Partners as to what is the current state of play. Our prime concern is the need for assurances on job security for our 450 members.'

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Do you know more about this story? Call Mark Shields on 01603 772426.

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