Workers to protest against job losses

Workers and their families are poised to stage a protest outside a Norfolk meat processing factory today because of the proposed loss of more than 500 jobs.

Workers and their families are poised to stage a protest outside a Norfolk meat processing factory today because of the proposed loss of more than 500 jobs.

Tulip announced last month that it planned to cease production at its Danepak fresh pork and bacon plant at Thetford after more than 40 years.

Hundreds of union members are expected to descend on the factory, in Caxton Way, in protest at the firm's stance and the withdrawal of a long-standing redundancy package.

Transport and General Workers' Union officials, who will meet Tulip representatives this afternoon, say they are frustrated by the company's reluctance to disclose information as part of a 90-day consultation period and are calling on Danepak to apply its “family farms of Denmark” ethos to families in Norfolk.

The union also says employees have been left only with the statutory minimum level of redundancy money.

Miles Hubbard, its regional industrial organiser, said: “Workers feel angry and betrayed by the treatment dished out to them and their families by a company many of them have worked years for. It is difficult not to conclude that Danepak are slicing off the bacon in profit whilst hanging our members out to dry.”

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“We are calling on the multi-national, profitable Danepak to ensure that families in Britain are being looked after in the way their adverts boast that Danish families are.”

The union says Danepak made a £111m profit last year and Tulip, which is part of the Danish Crown group, made £12.55m profit, an increase in operating profit of 44pc on the previous year.

However, the company said last month that the ageing and costly set-up at Thetford was to blame for years of loss making and the closure of the site - which could lead to the loss of up to 350 permanent posts and 200 agency jobs.

No one from Tulip or Danepak was available for comment last night.