AN ANGLESEY meat processing plant could be forced to close, with the loss of 350 jobs.
Vion Food Group, who own Welsh Country Foods in Gaerwen, today (Friday, January 1) announced a two month consultation on closing with unions and workers, after its main customer switched to another supplier.
Anglesey said the news was a “massive blow” to the island and its economy in a time of “economic decline."
He said: “Anglesey has a strong reputation for food production and I hope that everyone will come together over the notice period to help mitigate the job losses.
“I will be working with all parties and pressing the United Kingdom Government as the Vion decision has implications across the United Kingdom.”
VION purchased the plant, which handles 640,000 a year, when it acquired the Grampian Country Food Group in 2008.
Anglesey AM Ieuan Wyn Jones added he would raise the closure with Minister for Agriculture Alun Davies, and that the immediate priority was to sell the company as a going concern.
Mr Jones also planned to speak to farming unions, and added: “The potential loss of this abattoir will be devastating for local farmers in North West Wales given that there are no large plants nearby.
“This may well have an impact on prices as competition will be reduced."
VION’s red meat managing director Jose Peralta said: “If the consultation exercise does not reveal a viable way forward for this plant regrettably we will have no other option but to close the site.
“We recognise the impact which this decision will have on the local economy and the community in Anglesey and we are currently in discussions with the retailer to establish if their decision can be overturned and if any steps can be taken to mitigate their decision.”
Mr Peralta said VION had informed the Welsh Government and Anglesey Council of the consultation.
He added: “ If the plant closure is confirmed, we will take all practical steps to work with the relevant agencies to minimise the undoubtedly significant impact on jobs and the local economy.”