A worker at one of Britain’s largest sandwich-making firms which has ceased trading said closure would be “devastating” to its 2,000 workers.
Adelie Foods, which has sites at Milton Keynes and Southall in west London, went into administration last week.
Worker Mohammed Hussain said many of the 600 Milton Keynes staff were there since leaving school 30 years ago.
Administrators Deloitte said the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown had presented problems for sandwich sales.
They added rescue attempts had failed and there would be 2,169 redundancies with 22 staff kept on across the eight sites.
“The Milton Keynes site was a lifeline for the many locals, It was a devastating end for some the colleagues who have worked there for over 30 years as their first-ever jobs since leaving schools,” he said.
“The company headquarters in London called in the administrators last week after it failed to reach a rescue deal with the interested parties.”
The firm made pre-packaged sandwiches, salads and food on-the-go, supplying supermarkets and big coffee chains and cafes as well as catering companies.
Rob Harding, joint administrator, said: “Covid-19 has presented huge challenges to this business given the lockdown measures and associated impact on the ‘food-to-go’ sector.
“It is with sadness that we now have to announce such a significant number of redundancies.”
Frank Loveday, regional secretary of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union, said the union was offering support and advice to members who had lost their jobs.
“Covid-19 has taken a lot of casualties in all areas. It was hoped that Adelie might be bought by another sandwich company, but where are sandwiches being sold at the moment? They were big suppliers to cafe operators and they are not open,” he said.
Milton Keynes Council said it would “work alongside the Department for Work and Pensions to support people back into employment”.
Adelie Foods also has sites at Prologis Park, near Heathrow, Wembley, Tamworth in Staffordshire, Haydock in Merseyside, Kilmarnock in Scotland and Cardiff in Wales.
Nine out of 10 of Adelie staff had been furloughed during the lockdown.