21 February 2007
Bernard Matthews workers to be compensated for lay-offs
MPs and trade unions today called for compensation for laid-off staff at Bernard Matthews.
Both the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) and local MPs want the factory workers to be treated in the same way as poultry farmers in Spain and Italy, who were paid £45 million by the EU when an outbreak of avian flu affected their livelihoods.
Earlier this week the poultry foods company laid-off 130 staff as profits sunk by 40 per cent after an outbreak of avian flu at its factory near Norwich.
The lay-off period for those affected currently stands at 20 days, but the company has also warned that it may need to make further cuts involving another 500 workers.
In an interview with the Norwich Evening News, Norfolk's European MP Richard Howitt said: "The European Union paid compensation directly to workers in Spain and Italy related to loss of income with bird flu there. These meat processing workers must get the same deal."
Bernard Matthews has so far offered laid-off staff a single payment of £100.