Workers 'gutted' as 2 Sisters Chicken factory shuts after 50 years in Anglesey with loss of 700 jobs

  • Workers speak to ITV News after completing their final shifts at the factory

Workers at a chicken factory which is shutting down causing more than 700 jobs to be lost have reacted to the closure as they finished their last shift at the site.

The 2 Sisters processing plant has been a major employer for the people of Anglesey for more than 50 years.

Plans to shut the factory in Llangefni were announced in January and confirmed last month - despite a taskforce's attempt to save the plant.

Gareth Matheson had worked at the site for 4.5 years. The father-of-five has no job to go to.He left two sisters carrying his belongings in a bin bag. He said working here was like a “big, happy family".

Andrew and Gareth said they had "mixed emotions" leaving the workplace for the last time.

"Gutted, sad to see everyone go - the goodbyes were horrible.“It is an end of an era,” he said.“Some people have been here 40 years, all their life and it’s the only thing they know, it’s upsetting for them and there’s not much else on the island either”.He says he’s applied for countless jobs but had no replies. It just looks bleak”.

Andrew Hall has worked here for 3 years. He has a new job as a chef and financially it matches his earnings but he will now work weekends.“It’s a massive struggle. I had to go back to getting a job. Without it god knows where I’ll be”They both feel there are limited opportunities on the island.

One worker said, "The amount of people getting laid off here... the amount of jobs that are around on the island, there's not very many."

Another said, "I've been working here for two years and seven months, I don't know what I'm going to do next."

The closure of the factory comes after the 2 Sisters Group said the Anglesey site was one of its oldest and smallest and lacked any space to be efficient.

The poultry giant said any potential upgrades would require significant investment that would not make sense for the business.

The closure has been described as "devastating" by the leader of the Welsh Conservatives.

At the time of the announcement, the company said: "The cost to produce here is higher, and it would require significant investment to bring it up to the standards of our other factories.  Our products can be made more efficiently elsewhere across our estate."

The closure was announced in January Credit: Media Wales

Local MP Virginia Crosbie said rising energy costs were also a major part of the company's decision to consult on a closure.

There are now fears as to what will happen next in Anglesey. Local businesswoman Rhian Sinnott has run Cain in the area for 12 years and her father worked at the plant doing maintenance until he retired.

She said: “I have friends who work there as well so there’s a lot of concern, there’s a lot of worry.

“It’s going to have a big knock on effect on youngsters who are looking for work when they leave school”.

When the closure was originally announced many workers at the site were shocked.

Employees told ITV Wales that there were staff members who worked at the site for over 40 years, and "weren't told anything" about the plans.

After the announcement of the plant's impending closure, a task force and support hub was set up to to offer help and advice to those affected.

Andrew RT Davies cited the recent announcement of a freeport for Anglesey which he said would bring "much-needed jobs and investment" to the area.

“With the chicken processing plant contributing massively to the economy of Anglesey over the last 50 years, it’s crucially important that those impacted receive the support that they need, and also deserve." 

The hub at the Bryn Cefni Business Centre in the town became active soon after the initial announcement, involving a number of organisations including Working Wales, Citizens Advice and Job Centre Plus.