Grahame Morris MP

Member of Parliament for Easington

Walkers Crisp Factory Closure a sad day for East Durham.

December 22, 2017 Blog 0

I am so, so sorry for the 350 long serving loyal Walkers employees and their families who have lost their jobs with the last shift and the closure of the Peterlee factory this week.

It’s a real blow to Peterlee and the surrounding communities. It is also hugely disappointing that a deal could not be done to secure a future for the workforce by finding an alternative buyer for the site. I certainly tried my best and relayed interest from a potent buyer to Walkers.

I had family and friends that worked at the Crisp factory and remember with affection the glory days of Tudor and Smiths Crisps.

As so often happens in these situations many of the workforce felt that the top bosses of the parent company PepsiCo went into the consultation process over the closure knowing full well which way it was going to go. The company’s position being that centralising production at their other factories in the Midlands would cut distribution costs.

It’s a real body blow for staff at Peterlee who have worked so hard and they have every right to feel hard done by.

It’s an awful time of year to lose a job. It must be uppermost on their minds as they spend time with their families at Christmas knowing the company is finally going to close the gates on a fine tradition of snack food manufacturing. The workforce had done everything that was asked of them by management.

There are of course knock-on effects for other businesses within the supply chain too, which remain to be seen. Let’s not forget this workforce and generations of families have contributed to making the brand a market leader.

I wish the workforce well in finding alternative employment and wish to place on record my thanks to those agencies including Durham County Council and the Dept of Work and Pensions, involved in the Taskforce that was set up to provide advice and assistance to the workforce to offer retraining and support to help them find jobs in the locality. I wish the Walkers Snack Foods workforce and staff and their families well and hope they can all find suitable alternative employment.