As many as 650 jobs are at risk at 2 Sisters business Avana Bakeries, following the loss of a major contract with Marks and Spencer (M&S).A spokeperson for 2 Sisters confirmed that following a strategic review with M&S, the majority of employees at its Avana bakery site at Newport were now at risk of redundancy, “following the loss of our M&S business to a competitor”.”The work will now be transferred to the other company, therefore placing the majority of our 650-strong workforce at risk of redundancy. There is also a risk that the site could be closed.”The multi-million pound cake contract is believed to have been won by Park Cake Bakeries in Oldham, according to the BBC, which reported that the M&S deal makes up 85% of what the Avana bakery business produces.The spokesperson continued: “Clearly this is a huge setback to our cakes business and our operations in Wales, but we are determined to work hard to reverse the situation.”As a matter of urgency, we are now making every effort to rebuild the business by seeking alternative customers and opportunities which will minimise the impact of this contract loss. We are hopeful that we can retain our cakes business in Newport.”The firm will now enter into a 45-day minimum consultation period with staff to “explore all available options before taking the next steps”. Avana Bakeries, part of the Brookes Avana, was acquired by Solway Foods, part of 2 Sisters Food Group, from Premier Foods, in January 2012.The £30m sale included three manufacturing sites in Newport (RF Brookes and Avana Bakeries) and Leicester (RF Brookes).Following the sale, the decision was made to sell the Avana Christmas pudding business to Sargents Bakeries, following an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) over concerns about loss of competition in the market.
Defoe was on target for the second successive league game as Sunderland claimed a precious point in a 1-1 draw at Swansea, and the 55-times capped England striker has certainly given the Black Cats a cutting edge since ending his 11-month MLS adventure at Toronto. Sunderland have taken four points from their last two games after winning only one of the previous 12 in the Premier League and enter back-to-back home fixtures against fellow strugglers QPR and West Brom with renewed optimism. Jermain Defoe feels Sunderland have built the momentum to distance themselves from relegation bother. “It was always a difficult place to go and we just have to make it like that, we have to be direct, play with a lot of energy and create chances. “We did that against Burnley and if we keep doing that we should be fine.” Swansea salvaged a point when former Sunderland loanee Ki Sung-yueng grabbed his fourth goal of the season midway through the second half with a fine diving header. It was Ki’s first Swansea appearance for five weeks as he had been away leading South Korea at the Asian Cup in Australia and skipper Ashley Williams hailed the importance of the midfielder. “He’s a massive player for us and we probably missed him a little bit while he’s been away,” Williams said. “But he slotted right back in and was as good as he’s been all season. “Ki and Jack Cork put in good shifts and I thought Jack covered a lot of ground on his debut. “I was a little bit disappointed with the way we played but we showed great character to come back from a goal down, especially when you’re not playing as well as you want to. “We’ve had a bit of a wobble after Christmas but we’ve got four points from the last two games and we want to kick on now.” “The games we’ve got coming up are massive and we have to be confident now,” Defoe said ahead of QPR’s visit to the Stadium of Light on Tuesday. “QPR are a team that are really fighting as well but we just have to play like we did here because I thought we played well. “We created some chances but football’s about results and you have to put on a performance.” Defoe’s rasping first-half strike which gave Sunderland the lead at the Liberty Stadium saw the 32-year-old became the first player to score against every team currently playing in the top flight. The Londoner has now netted more than 220 goals in English football and Sunderland boss Gus Poyet appears to be responsible for one of the transfer masterstrokes of the season. For his part, Defoe says he is relishing being back in the Premier League and believes an intimidating Stadium of Light will prove crucial in Sunderland’s battle for survival. “Having our fans onside during games is a massive thing for us,” Defoe said. “Even when I was playing for other teams, coming to Sunderland was always a difficult game. Press Association