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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Permanent contracts for Carlisle food factory's agency staff

The Carlisle ready-meals producer Cavaghan & Gray is creating 100 permanent jobs.

Cavaghan and Gray factory photo
Cavaghan & Gray, Carlisle

The posts will be filled by agency workers who work there already but without the security of a permanent contract.

The operation at Durranhill employs 1,000 people – 800 employed by Cavaghan & Gray and 200 through the agency Staffline.

The announcement will take the number employed directly to 900.

It was welcomed as a vote of confidence in the city’s workers and comes on the back of other recent positive employment news. Louise Cooke, human resources manager for Cavaghan & Gray, said: “This is good news for Cavaghan & Gray in what is our 100th year of operations.

“Historically, the business has always had a proportion of employees from agency suppliers and this will continue to be the case.

“But increasing the level of permanent employees is a positive move for the site and shows how under [owner] 2 Sisters we are focused on growing our business in the future.”

She added: “The food industry overall remains tough but the ready-meals market is showing continued growth and it’s important that we can capitalise on this.”

The company also says it is “finalising plans” to take on an unspecified number of additional staff in the run-up to Christmas.

The site is a major supplier to Marks & Spencer and, as well as ready meals, makes accompaniments such as prepared vegetables, ready-made mash and party food. Carlisle MP John Stevenson welcomed the announcement.

He said: “Although it is not the creation of 100 jobs as such, it creates certainty for the families [of the affected workers] and a degree of security, which they didn’t have.

“Most importantly, it demonstrates confidence by the company in the Carlisle plant, which must be hugely welcome.”

He added: “It confirms my view that the Carlisle economy, although still experiencing difficulties, is weathering the current economic downturn rather well.”

The new jobs come two months after workers settled a long-running dispute by accepting changes to their terms and conditions, designed to reduce costs.

2 Sisters acquired Cavaghan & Gray when it bought Northern Foods in a £342 million deal last year.

Several other Carlisle businesses have reported positive news in recent months. H&H Group, which has wide-ranging interests from livestock auctioneering to printing, unveiled record profits of £1.44m.

Tyre-maker Pirelli announced 40 new jobs in August as part of a £20m investment plan.

Bus operator Reays continues to expand its City Hopper network.

And Stobart Group is poised to start a £25m revamp of Carlisle Airport.

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