The Culina Group, of which it is a subsidiary, has issued a statement.
It confirmed: “Following an announcement on August 7 2023, Culina Group can confirm that a proposal has been put forward to close the Morgan McLernon site in Lurgan, Northern Ireland.
“A period of meaningful consultation has now been entered into with those colleagues affected.”
Morgan McLernon is based at the Annesborough Industrial Estate and local political representatives have expressed their concern at the bombshell.
Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart said: “I am deeply concerned to learn of the proposed cessation of activity and site closure of Lurgan hauliers Morgan McLernon in my constituency.
“Morgan McLernon is a major employer in Upper Bann and is part of the Culina group, the largest UK haulier of chilled and ambient products.
“I have been shown the letter from management to workers which explains that despite their best efforts, this decision has become unavoidable because of the negative implications of Brexit in Northern Ireland which are of course defined by the difficulties arising from the imposition of a border down the Irish Sea.
“The volume of trade movements across the Irish Sea has been falling since the imposition of the Irish Sea border and particularly since the announcement of the Windsor Framework in February this year as retailers have prepared for the introduction of the Windsor border on October 1st.
“It is clear that haulage companies based in Northern Ireland whose business model is predicated on being part of the United Kingdom economy are in real difficulty because of this.
“In May it was widely reported that a leading supermarket had advised retailers that the policy of seeking to sustain supermarket operations in Northern Ireland on the basis of the green lane would be the death knell of any supermarket business and that in order to survive under Windsor, supermarkets must get as much of their product as possible from the Republic of Ireland, avoiding the border with its green and red lanes whenever possible.
“The underlying economic changes that inform this announcement clearly demonstrate how the Protocol/Windsor Framework is increasingly replacing the UK economy with a GB economy and attempting to put Northern Ireland in the same economy as the Republic of Ireland.
“I will continue to work at Westminster alongside DUP colleagues to mitigate and undo the damage caused by the Protocol/Windsor Framework and will work with employees locally to support them through what is a very difficult time.”
Alliance Upper Bann MLA Eóin Tennyson also described the news as “worrying”.
He added: “My thoughts are with the hundreds of workers who could potentially be affected,” said Mr Tennyson.
“Morgan McLernon is a significant employer in Upper Bann and I will be engaging with management to gain a full understanding of the rationale for this proposed course of action and to ascertain what mitigations will be put in place.
“The letter to staff cites Brexit amongst a number of external factors which have led to this decision. It will be of little comfort to the workers impacted that some of the most vocal and reckless proponents of Brexit are only now decrying this unfortunate outcome.
“Any closure of this scale would be a huge blow for the staff and for the local economy in Lurgan. Alliance will continue to advocate for those affected to the best of our ability.
“However, we ought to be doing so in a functioning Assembly and Executive.”