Hundreds of jobs which were under threat because of a shake-up at a Sussex landmark factory site have now been saved.
Multinational bakery giant CSM - which took over the firm of Kate’s Cakes in Ashington in 2006 - announced plans to close its site last year.
But in a surprise turn-around, the bakery announced today that it is to keep the Ashington plant open, safeguarding the future of around 350 employees.
Originally, CSM sent out letters to staff in February last year saying it was to close its bakery site on the Wiston Trading estate in Ashington, and one in Esher, by the end of 2017. It had planned to open a new site in Daventry and extend another in Bradford.
But now CSM says it has undertaken a ‘comprehensive review’ of its plans and the Ashington bakery - which achieved record sales over the past year - will remain open.
Alex Dekker, CSM’s head of production in Europe, said: ‘’We believe Ashington and its team have a role to play in our bid to maintain our industry leadership in innovation, quality and service.
“I also must note the dedication and pride of the Ashington workers, who over this past year have delivered record output and service quality levels, regardless of the plant’s future. I’m glad they will remain part of our team.’’
He said the former Kate’s Cakes plant will focus on producing gluten-free and ‘free from’ baked goods and ingredients for CSM.
The firm is a global leader in bakery ingredients, products and services for retail and foodservice markets, as well as artisan and industrial bakeries, throughout the UK.
Globally, it employs more than 8,500 people, serving customers in 100-plus countries.