Almost an entire workforce could be made redundant after a company based in Bosham announced plans to restructure the business.
Langmead Farms is re-organising its operations by creating a new business called The Lettuce Company.
The new company has proposed to axe 78 jobs out of the current 88 working there, which affects the whole Sussex region. The Lettuce Company has been created to manage the lettuce, babyleaf, celery and salad onions production.
Langmead Farms will continue to work as its own business, working in herb processing and producing wheat.
One of the employees, who does not want to be named, said: “We appreciated that there may be significant changes but not the drastic reduction of almost all staff, to the point of asset stripping.
“But in this case this is customer stripping. This will now give a single supplier probably in excess of 90 per cent of the market to the UK to the main customers, the supermarkets.”
A letter was sent out to employees by the CEO of The Lettuce Company, Bill Thurston.
In it he explains: “Unfortunately, and as you have been informed during the TUPE consultation process there will inevitably be some redundancies.
“We will be consulting with you both collectively through nominated representatives and individually if you are affected.”
It was also announced in the letter that some cropping will be re-located to East Anglia to ‘optimise efficiency’ but The Lettuce Company will grow substantial acreages of leafy salads, baby leaf, and spring onions in Sussex and Kent.
There will also be a packing operation in Kent.
Six job losses have been proposed for the Kent section of the business.
Mr Thurston added in the letter: “I realise that this is a particularly unsettling time for many people and we’ll do our utmost to make sure you’re all kept informed, consulted at each stage and know how it affects you as soon as possible.”
A consultation started yesterday on the redundancies.
Langmead has said it has begun consultations with employees who will transfer to The Lettuce Company.
All sales will be handled by G’s Fresh.
When contacted by the Observer, a spokesman for The Lettuce Company said the company does not wish to make any comments at this time.