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.
Mohammed Hussain said many of the 615 Milton Keynes staff have been 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 its sites.
“The Milton Keynes site was a lifeline for many locals,” Mr Hussain said.
“It was a devastating end for some the colleagues who have worked there for over 30 years as their first-ever jobs since leaving school.
“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 employed 515 people at Southall, 439 at Prologis Park, near Heathrow, 325 at Wembley, 73 at its Tamworth site in Staffordshire and 63 at Haydock in Merseyside.
There were 35 workers at a site in Kilmarnock and 18 in Cardiff. The firm also employed 108 people at its London head office.
Nine out of 10 of Adelie Foods staff were furloughed as a result of the pandemic.