REDUNDANT.. Tom Meehan standing outside the Enniskillen warehouse rented by Crossgar Pallas Foods that is due to close its Enniskillen operation.
A FOOD depot based in Carran Industrial Estate, Enniskillen is to shut down this Saturday, 31st January
The closure of Crossgar Pallas Foods affects seven drivers, all of whom are from Fermanagh.
A company statement confirmed the closure, and it stated that five drivers have opted to transfer to other depots within the firm and two would be taking redundancy packages.
It gave the reason for closure as part of an efficiency exercise, with a perceived impact on the Enniskillen delivery operations.
Tom Meehan, one of the drivers affected, contacted the Herald. He said all seven had been offered alternative jobs at the company’s two other depots, at Seaforde, County Down and Sligo.
“One of us may be going to one of the other depots, but I would say four or five won’t be getting any work out of it.”
Mr Meehan, who is from Derrylin, was still nonplussed at the closure.
“Last September, they announced they were to spend £250,000 on new vehicles and now, a couple of months later, it’s closing.”
He added that he and his fellow drivers at Enniskillen covered, ‘a right bit of the north’, taking in Fermanagh, Tyrone and Derry.
“It seems somebody wasn’t happy with how the depot was performing, that it wasn’t cost effective.
Crossgar Pallas Foods takes its name from the merger, in June 2012, of Crossgar Food Service and Pallas Foods.
The £250,000 ‘spend’ at Enniskillen marked the completion of the rebrand.
At the time, Michael Morrissey, the director of foodservice with Crossgar Pallas stated that, as a result of the rebrand, the company’s range had increased to over 10,000 lines, supporting over 6,000 direct and indirect jobs in the North.
He added: “The £250,000 follows a significant investment in an advanced computer system in 2013 which has simplified the ordering process, giving customers direct access to over 10,000 individual products.’
But, Mr Meehan said he still could not understand the reason for closure.
“We were told two weeks ago it was closing due to centralisation, they said Enniskillen wasn’t making any money for them, yet the lorries are going out of the depot full to the neck.
“They said they’re trying to save money, that they’re cutting down on waste and that the Enniskillen depot is too costly to keep running.”
The company, in a statement released yesterday, Tuesday, said that in February, 2014, it was announced that aspects of the Crossgar business was being consolidated with that of its parent company, Pallas Foods.
The statement went on: “This was carried out in order to ensure that the business was as productive and as efficient as possible to compete effectively.
“As a result, the two businesses were merged and now operate under the ‘Crossgar Pallas’ brand. A progression of those measures was recently announced.
“As part of this progression, it was necessary to review the operations and resources in transport to ensure it is efficient. This involved a risk that redundancies may be necessary in the delivery operations at Enniskillen.
“Following consultation with the team, it was decided to close the Enniskillen depot as of 31st January. All seven employees were offered redeployment within either the businesses’ Seaforde or Sligo depots.
“Five of the seven chose to transfer within the business while two chose to take a redundancy package from the business.”