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MORE than 70 jobs are set to be axed at a food packaging company in Worcester – representing nearly half the current workforce.

Up to 76 people will lose their jobs at bpi protec, based in Blackpole East Industrial Estate, as the company bids to save money.

It is hoped a number of employees facing redundancy will be transferred to other bpi centres elsewhere, as the company attempts to minimise job losses.

The nearest bpi sites are in Hereford and Leominster, both of which are a 27-mile journey from Worcester.

The cuts come at a time when the company is facing increased pressure from retailers to provide products more cheaply, which bosses say is causing "huge problems" for the business, which employs just under 200 people at its Worcester site.

Craig Mason, HR manager at bpi protec, said: "It is a last resort. We are looking at up to 76 people leaving the business, unfortunately.

"That number may change, hopefully it goes down if we can find work for employees elsewhere.

"We are dealing with retailers who are putting huge amounts of pressure on prices which makes it uneconomical for us to continue. Unfortunately we have had to talk about redundancies on the back of that.

"Despite this bad news all employees continue to work as hard as they have ever done – it is quite phenomenal really."

The company, which is part of parent company RPC, is currently in discussion with its Worcester staff and a number of voluntary redundancies are available.

The business, which traditionally made bread bags, is now looking at moving into manufacturing more 'technical' food packaging products.

It is understood there will not be any redundancies before Tuesday, May 9.

Robin Walker, MP for Worcester, said he is "always concerned" to hear about job losses in the city and will be contacting bpi for more information.

He said: "I am always concerned to hear of any redundancies in Worcester and will be contacting the company to try and get more information."