Yes to more jobs

PUBLISHED: 11:18 25 January 2008 | UPDATED: 08:18 02 June 2010

BRIGHTER FUTURE: The Del Monte factory at Wisbech where more staff will be taken on.
	Picture: BRIAN PURDY

BRIGHTER FUTURE: The Del Monte factory at Wisbech where more staff will be taken on. Picture: BRIAN PURDY

DEL Monte is to expand and take on more staff at its Wisbech factory following a massive 43 per cent year-on-year increase in its cut-fruit production. Already one of the town s biggest employers, with 400 staff at the Weasenham Lane plant, the firm is g

DEL Monte is to expand and take on more staff at its Wisbech factory following a massive 43 per cent year-on-year increase in its cut-fruit production.

Already one of the town's biggest employers, with 400 staff at the Weasenham Lane plant, the firm "is going forward", says managing director Peter Miller.

The news for Wisbech is in stark comparison to that for the company's West Lynn factory, which has announced it is halting production on February 29 after a period of consultation with employees.

Bosses say the move has been made because of market pressures and that it is more able to remain competitive if it out-sources fruit-juice packing to more efficient competitors.

The firm says the carton-drinks market has become extremely competitive and that own-brand supermarket fruit juices had made it impossible to compete at the Lynn factory, which was old and would require a lot of investment.

Mr Miller, managing director of Del Monte in the UK, said: "The market place in which we operate is extremely competitive and the business has not got the critical mass to make us competitive and enable us to hold our own against some of the other major manufacturers, primarily supermarket own-brand products.

"We are not cutting back. We are doing it in a different way, outsourcing our packing. You will still see the juice on the shelves and our factory at Wisbech is going forward.

"It produces fresh cut fruit for a market which has grown 43 per cent year on year, and the rest of the business is going forward.

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