Meat processor Hilton cuts a quarter of Drogheda workforce

Tesco supplier says it needs to cut 77 jobs after review of business

Labour TD Ged Nash said the consultation process at Hilton Foods over 77 planned redundancies ‘cannot be a token exercise’. Photograph: Alan Betson

Labour TD Ged Nash said the consultation process at Hilton Foods over 77 planned redundancies ‘cannot be a token exercise’. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Meat processor Hilton Foods is cutting a quarter of the workforce at its Irish plant in Drogheda, Co Louth.

The British company said it had recently conducted a full review of its business “to ensure we continue to be the leading food partner of choice for our retail partners”.

“Following this review, regrettably, we have had to take the difficult decision to make changes to staffing levels across the company,” said Michael Lyttle, managing director of Hilton Foods Ireland.

The company has decided to cut 77 jobs from its current workforce of 317, according to a spokeswoman for Hilton Foods. The Drogheda plant appears to have been paring back numbers for some time as its website says it employs over 380 people in the town. Following the latest announcement, this will fall to 240.

Hilton says that supermarket chain Tesco is its customer in Ireland.

“We are focusing on supporting our colleagues at this time,” Mr Lyttle said. The company is now obliged to go through a consultation process before letting the staff go.

Consultation

Local Labour TD Ged Nash has called on Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Leo Varadkar and the State job support agencies to work towards saving the 77 jobs.

“Hilton Foods must explore alternatives to job losses as it seeks to restructure its business,” he said.

“I have been contacted by anxious workers and their families after the food production business announced its plans to engage in a consultation process on potential redundancies at the Drogheda facility.

He said the consultation process “cannot be a token exercise and the engagement with staff must be open, transparent and meaningful. All the cards must be on the table”.

“The company is obliged to fully explore where cost savings outside of mass redundancies can be made before they conclude this process and they also have an obligation to work with employees to identify alternative roles within the organisation,” he added.

It is understood that Brexit was not a factor in company’s business review.