31/01/2007

40 jobs to go in County Antrim

A County Antrim food processing plant is to close down, resulting in the loss of 40 jobs.

Oaktree Foods, which is a division of the O'Kane Group, has blamed steep competition from low-cost imports from abroad for the closure.

A spokesperson for O'Kane's has said that the company, which processes meat and poultry products both for sale and for ingredients for other O'Kane products had been losing money for a number of years and was no longer viable.

The 40-strong workforce has already been informed by Oaktree Foods and talks are under way with union representatives, however it is understood that there are no positions available in the main O'Kane plant in Ballymena.

A spokesman for O'Kane's said: "We regret the need for these job losses, but competition is tougher and margins are lower than at any time in the history of our industry.

"Oaktree foods has been operating at a loss over recent years since the loss of a major contract with Morrison's."

Oaktree Foods is expected to close at the end of March.

(EF)

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