WISBECH: Moy Park statement

A multi-partnership meeting was held on Monday 18 March at Moy Park, Wisbech, to discuss the current proposals for the operations of the site.

Key representatives attending the meeting from Moy Park included Tony O’Neill (Convenience Foods and New Business Director), Roger Martin (Director of Operations – Convenience Foods), Nigel Laing (General Manager) and Paul Williams (Manager, Wisbech site).

Attending from Fenland District Council were Cllr Mrs Bucknor, Paul Medd (Chief Executive), Alan Pain (Corporate Director), and Clive Gibbon (Economic Development Manager).

Also present were Alan Brace (Senior Parliamentary Assistant) representing Steve Barclay MP and Jo Pagett, Investor Development Manager representing UK Trade and Investment.

Moy Park provided a detailed overview of their current proposals to consolidate elements of their current Wisbech operations at the Grantham site, for reasons of site scale, efficiency, market conditions, and competitiveness. They would also maintain some sliced meat production at Wisbech.

As part of these proposals, which are still under consultation with staff, Moy Park confirmed that jobs would be available at the alternative sites for all 314 currently affected staff who wished to take them, therefore effectively there should be no forced redundancies.

Introductory tours of the alternative sites for staff have been arranged and Moy Park explained that they were aiming at a timescale of increasing operations at Grantham/Anwick from June.

Moy Park also highlighted their longstanding involvement in the Wisbech and Fenland economy and stressed the intention to continue operations at the site.

Discussions then turned to the supportive role being sought by the District Council and partner agencies, including the commitment to encourage business, investment and skills in the area.

Initiatives exploring options to focus investment and expansion in Wisbech, rather than Grantham/Anwick were discussed. These included, the availability of land in the Wisbech area for expansion, the consideration of investment funding options and skills development and training through partnership links with organisations including the College of West Anglia.

Also highlighted were the projects and planned commitments to further build on the competitiveness of the area – including the Wisbech 2020 vision, the approved Economic Development Strategy and the advanced new Core Strategy.

All parties recognised that the proposals are still under consultation. It was agreed to continue background discussions in several areas, which may become important if any staff do ultimately face redundancy or losses as a result of a final scheme being implemented.

These discussions will include travel plans and options to enable staff to take the guaranteed employment offer at the alternate Moy Park sites – thereby keeping the wages in Fenland.

Also, continuing the current joint work with FDC, Moy Park and other Fenland businesses will explore re-employment within Fenland (matching vacancies elsewhere in Fenland with skills becoming available from Moy Park).

It was also agreed to continue to progress engagement with other partner agencies in terms of skills support, careers advice, and employment searches, so that these programmes of help for staff are ready to be implemented quickly if and when required.

All parties involved in the meeting committed to continuing to maintain an open dialogue, particularly as the current consultation period nears conclusion.