A FOOD factory will close by the end of next month with the loss of 350 jobs, union leaders have confirmed.
Irish company Kerry Foods, one of Durham’s largest private sector employers, announced plans to shut its plant in Gilesgate in March.
Attempts to help it become profitable within the last six months failed, despite the efforts of workers and bosses.
There were still hopes of a rescue package for the site, which deals with sliced meat, snacks and bakery products, but union bosses have now admitted defeat and have said the plant would wind down at the end of July.
George Cain, of Usdaw, paid tribute to the skilled team of staff. He said: “It’s very sad, but the workers are staying dignified and will see out the plant’s life.
“It’s hard for them because there was hope, but nothing now can be done.
“The management at the plant have also felt this very heavily.
“They know the people who are losing their jobs very well and they are, of course, in the same situation themselves.”
Business Durham, which is run by Durham County Council, will help the workers in their search for new jobs.
Stewart Watkins, managing director of the development unit, said: “We will be looking at all options, working with other agencies to offer advice and assistance to the workforce and to those companies within the supply chain.”