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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Daniel O'Boyle

Supermarket ready meal maker to cut up to 260 jobs in West London

A company that makes ready meals for supermarkets including Waitrose, Aldi and Morrisons is to cut up to 260 jobs in West London, it was revealed today, a year after it closed a nearby factory.

Pilgrim’s Food Masters has launched a consultation on redundancies, with as many as 260 jobs at risk of being axed at a factory at Dean Way in Southall. Pilgrim’s has proposed the closure of the Dean Way site.

Last year, the firm closed another Southall location, Collett Way, where 220 employees worked. With that site closed, Pilgrim’s has three remaining Southall factories.

Pilgrim’s has only owned the sites for around three years, acquiring the Noon Products business from the Kerry Group in 2021.

The Southall factories mainly make ready meals under the Noon products brand, which specialises in Indian dishes.

The GMB union, which represents Pilgrim’s staff, said it “will fight tooth and nail” for staff at the Dean Way site.

Gavin Davies, GMB senior organiser, said: "GMB has serious concerns about how this will impact on our members and the local community with the job losses.  With the previous closure of Colette Way, a further closure to Dean Way has come as a massive blow to our members.  

“GMB will fight tooth and nail for workers to be paid every penny they are due.” 

It is part of the American food giant Pilgrim’s Pride, which made profits of  more than $500 million in 2023. Pilgrim’s Pride is itself majority-owned by Brazilian behemoth JBS foods, the largest food company in the world with profits well into the billions.

A spokesperson for Pilgrim’s Food Masters said: “Over the past few years we have been working hard to transform our meals business, which has seen us secure long-term customer contracts, increase our product offering and improve our operational efficiencies.

“Despite our best efforts, we are continuing to face industry challenges and lower than expected market volumes. In light of these market conditions – and in order to ensure business continuity and protect jobs – we have had no choice but to review the shape of our business. Following a thorough assessment, we have identified ways to maximise the capacity across our sites and are proposing to consolidate our total Ready Meals volume into Attleborough and Windmill Lane. This unfortunately means the proposed closure of our Dean Way site.”

“We expect these proposals will place around 260 of our colleagues at risk of redundancy, following an initial consultation period. We’ll be supporting all those affected throughout this process and our intention is to redeploy colleagues to our neighbouring sites wherever possible. We are working hard to limit any impact to our customers, consumers and suppliers during this time.”

Noon was founded by Lord Noon in 1987, and is often credited as the business that made the Chicken Tikka Masala the UK’s most popular dish.

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