ABOUT 400 jobs reportedly face the axe at the Keynsham headquarters of a veterinary services company.
IVC Evidensia currently employs about 1,100 operational staff at the Chocolate Factory building in the town’s Chocolate Quarter at Somerdale.
It is understood that a significant number of those roles may be outsourced to India over the next 12 months.
But the company, which runs 2,600 vet clinics and out-of-town centre across 20 countries, insists that Keynsham will remain its global centre.
A spokesperson told the Voice: “IVC Evidensia is committed to delivering outstanding care to animals and outstanding service to our customers.
“We continually review our back-office services to ensure they are supporting the business in the most effective and efficient way.
“We’re considering outsourcing finance services to a specialist business, to help improve support levels and enable our veterinary teams to better focus on animal care and customer service.
“Following this proposed change, the Chocolate Factory in Keynsham will continue to serve as IVC Evidensia’s global centre for multiple corporate functions.”
News of the expected job losses was described as a blow to the local community by Dave Biddleston, newly elected Bath and North East Somerset councillor for Keynsham South.
He said: “We are grateful for the employment opportunities that IVC Evidensia continue to provide.
“I live on Chandos Road, the old entrance to Fry factory, and the buildings and their use are important to the residents that are my neighbours.
“Many of them were employed by Fry, Cadbury and then Kraft. When the factory closed, many councillors worked hard to ensure that good-quality local jobs were brought to the Somerdale site and that its use would not simply be for residential housing.
“I’m not certain what percentage of the staff at risk of redundancy are from Keynsham itself, but the loss is keenly felt by the community.
“It is my hope that IVC will evaluate the need to outsource against the professional competency of those already doing a fantastic job and making for a very profitable company.
“Locally this can mean that in addition to the loss of well-paid employment, it can encourage instability in our local economy too. Fewer workers mean less money spent in local shops.
“Much evidence over the last 10 years or so suggests that outsourcing can lead to increases in customer dissatisfaction due to cultural differences and misunderstandings, let alone the potential for ‘cheaper wages’ coming at the expense of working in areas with poorer workers’ rights.
“Job losses at this time will have an impact on our local economy getting back to full strength after recent difficult years for the UK and I urge them to reconsider their position whilst remaining grateful for the time and investment they put into Keynsham.”