More than 430 jobs are under threat at the Bakkavor food manufacturing plant at Spalding in Lincolnshire, according to the union Unite.

Unite met with the management staff at Bakkavor to ask for the business rationale for the 433 job cuts at one the four sites at the Spalding plant which produces ready-made food, such as wraps and soups.

The company cites a downturn in business over the last year which was then accelerated by Covid-19.

The news comes after convenient food producer, Adelie Foods, ceased trading, also as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Unite regional officer, Mick Orpin, said: “This news is a bitter pill for the workers and their families, as well as for the wider Lincolnshire economy – our members face a period of deep uncertainty and worry as to how they will put food on the table for their families and pay their bills.

“As we start the 45 days consultation process today (Tuesday 9th June), we are going to ask to see – and also challenge – the management’s business rationale behind this decision as we are not convinced by its argument.

“We want to explore if Covid-19 is a being cynically used as an excuse for job cuts by a powerful international corporate.

“While some of the workforce have been furloughed and others have continued working, we believe that the company could have made much better use of the Government’s job retention scheme (JRS) which was put in place precisely to retain as many jobs as possible.

“Unite is committed to supporting our members to the maximum during this grim time.”