Up to 50 new food jobs could be created at the Fox Biscuits site in Kirkham, Lancashire. The changes will come as the factory transitions to a new shift pattern which will allow for 24/7 manufacture, boosting capacity but necessitating more hands on deck.
The company has stated they will be consulting with employees about the proposed changes, which will see a move to 12-hour shifts on a rota pattern of four days on followed by four days off. It’s a fairly standard operating pattern for food and drink jobs like these, but it may still be cause for concern for those who are already working at the factory under a different shift length.
Geoff Atkinson is the regional secretary for the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union, and will be taking part in the process. “I do understand there will be some upset from some members and employees who work there, but as a trade union representative anything that protects employment and creates employment has got to be a good thing,” he said. “We will be doing our utmost in consultation to make sure most, if not all, the people are catered for. There are going to be situations where people will be unable to work 12-hour shifts, but that will be addressed in the consultation process.”
While he did note that the consultation would be taking into account ways to aid those who could not adapt to the new way of working, Atkinson indicated that the union is likely to support any proposal that would both create new jobs at the site and secure the existing ones – which this shift change is sure to do.
“They’re putting it down as a business need that it requires 24/7 production, and we were told it protects employment,” he added. “There will be people who will struggle to do continental shifts and weekend work. We do know that. But it’s creating and protecting employment, so that’s got to be a good thing.”
Growth plans ready
For the more than 300 people who work at the site, those who are able to adapt will surely see this as positive news, indicating growth and success for the company they work for.
“In order to maximise the growth plans of our site in Kirkham, we are currently consulting with colleagues and their representatives about proposals to extend production hours,” said a spokesperson for Fox’s Biscuits. “This would significantly help the site deliver more for our customers and in turn boosts our commercial opportunities. No decisions will be made until we have completed meaningful discussions about our plans with all colleagues.”
Make sure to keep an eye on our food job listings, as there are sure to be plenty of great new opportunities coming up soon. Though everyone has spoken with cautious language about the changes, it seems almost to be a done deal – and it’s not expected that the plans will meet with a great deal of resistance.