Weston Foods announces plans to close Cobourg bakery in June, axing up to 180 jobs

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Weston Foods announces plans to close Cobourg plant; up to 180 to lose jobs
Weston Foods has announced it will be closing its Maplehurst Bakeries plant in Cobourg this June – Jan 15, 2020

Nearly a year after announcing its expansion of its Cobourg facility, a baked goods manufacturing company has announced it will be closing the plant in June.

In a statement, Weston Foods said it made a “difficult decision” to close its Maplehurst bakery in the second half of 2020. The company says “regrettably, up to 180 jobs will be lost” which will mean a four per cent decrease in its total workforce, adding that production will be relocated to other bakeries in the Weston Foods network.

“Closing a bakery is one of the toughest decisions we ever face,” the statement reads.

“We deeply regret the personal impact this closure will have on our Cobourg employees and are committed to providing support and resources to all those affected.”

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The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 175, which represents many of the workers at the plant, says Maplehurst Bakery, a subsidiary of Weston Foods, informed employees at its Cobourg facility on Monday of its intentions. The union says the job losses will impact 171 unionized workers at the plant.

“The workers at Maplehurst Bakeries began the new year expecting to continue to work hard at their jobs,” said UFCW Local 175 president Shawn Haggerty. “This news is a devastating blow to them and the community of Cobourg. Our members have dedicated years to this employer and deserve better.”

Almost a year ago, Weston Foods said it was expanding Cobourg’s operations with two new production lines and the hiring of 50 new full-time employees at the Division Street facility.

The Cobourg plant produces white and chocolate cakes, Swiss rolls and fruit cakes for parent company Weston Foods, which has 40 locations across Canada and the U.S. The Cobourg facility started in 1994 as the Weston Fruit Cake Company with 35 employees.

Peterborough-Northumberland South MP Philip Lawrence expressed his disappointment via Twitter and said he would commit to working with all stakeholders to “ameliorate this difficult situation.”

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Haggerty says the union will be meeting with Maplehurst as soon as possible to discuss the closure and its impact on the workers.

“We will take action to help deal with the impact of the job loss,” he said. “Our union will take whatever reasonable steps we can to help our members in the face of this decision to cease operations.”

In November 2019, Weston Foods laid off 40 employees at its facility in Kingston.

“As a company, we are always working to understand consumer needs and to meet changing customer demands, and that important work informs our decisions to re-evaluate our bakery network and make changes to ensure our future success,” Weston Foods stated.

Global News Peterborough has reached out to Weston Foods and Cobourg Mayor John Henderson for further comment.

More to come.

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