Premier Foods has announced that up to 98 jobs are at risk at Hovis’ Wigan bakery, with proposals for the closure of its roll plant.

The firm has undertaken a review of its morning goods business, "following a number of developments in the market", and is proposing changes, which could affect the manufacturing site at Cale Lane, Aspull in Wigan, said a spokesperson for Premier. "These include consolidating roll manufacture into fewer sites, which would improve our competitive position overall, but which would result in the closure of our roll plant in Wigan."

The firm has now entered into a 30-day consultation period with staff members affected by the proposals, "which will, regrettably, result in redundancies", said Premier. Hovis Wigan currently employs 530 staff.

Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union organising regional secretary Ian Hodson said that with regard to the consultation period, the recent redundancies at the firm’s satellite site should also be taken into account, in addition to issues such as potential contract changes, "meaning the company must enter a 90-day consultation".

"As the firm is resisting, our members are due to take part in a ballot at Wigan opening on 26 February and closing on 5 March," explained Hodson.

Commenting on reports that the firm recently lost 60% of a major crumpet contract, Hodson said: "My understanding is that a significant loss of business has caused a review of the crumpet plant."

Premier declined to comment on any speculation over its contracts.