Saturday, 8 February 2014


Yesterday’s news about the threat to some 650 jobs at Avana Bakeries in Rogerstone is a bad news for the employees, the company and for Newport. The loss of a multi-million pound Marks and Spencer cake order contract to a firm in Oldham (M&S basically just pulled the plug on its contract with Avana Bakeries) has left jobs and the even site under threat. The contract took up around 85% of what the Avana bakery produces – something which unfortunately left the company in a vulnerable position. It has been acknowledged that some of the more unscrupulous larger retailers and supermarkets have in the past thrown their weight around when it comes to allowing suppliers to chase contracts with other companies thus avoiding this dangerous dependency on specific contracts. This may or may not be the case with the Avana M&S contract. Despite the spin from M&S the main motivator for this action probably comes down to squeezing out extra profits than anything else. The contract, won by Avana in July 2002 was warmly welcomed bringing job security, investment and more jobs, after a bad fire at the site in December 2001 which left the bakery under threat of closure. The Welsh Government, local AMs and MPs, Newport City Council and the Secretary of State for Wales need to ensure that every opportunity is pursued to allow the company the opportunity to get back on its feet after this unexpected blow. 

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