Produce business shedding 130 jobs

Produce World, in Butterwick.
Produce World, in Butterwick.

A major fresh produce firm is to close its operation at Butterwick, near Boston, shedding about 130 jobs in the process.

It follows a period of consultation relating to plans from Produce Word Group to form a joint venture with LFP (Lincolnshire Field Products), based at Wykeham, near Spalding, over the growing, harvesting, packing and marketing of brassicas.

It was back in February when Produce World Group announced the proposal, explaining it would see the closure of Produce World Group’s site in Butterwick where - at that time - 250 people were employed in the brassica trade. Last week, the firm announced the site was to close as planned.

A spokesman for the business said: “Consultation has now been concluded and, as envisaged, the Produce World Butterwick site will close later this year.

“We are pleased to say that 120 colleagues from Produce World Butterwick will transfer to Produce World LFP at Wykeham, and this process will take place over the next few months.”

A hundred colleagues have taken redundancy and about 30 have left to go to other jobs, the spokesman added.

He stressed that the number of staff members being retained was double the amount expected when the consultation was launched.

He said it was ‘very sad’ to lose the workers, but added the move would allow the firm to ‘continue to be able to provide employment in the area’.

Explaining the proposals in February, Produce World Group executive chairman Neil Fraser said: “We are operating in a low-margin business and more consolidation across the industry is inevitable. At the same time our customers are experiencing a period of unprecedented competition and changing consumer shopping habits.

“We have acted to ensure we can meet these challenges and make the Produce World Group sustainable for the future.”