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Müller to close dairy with loss of 223 jobs

By James Pugh | Business | Published:

Dairy giant Müller is to wind down production at its facility in Derbyshire with the loss of 223 jobs.

Müller's site in Market Drayton

Foston dairy is likely to cease operations by the end of 2019 with processing absorbed by its other dairies, the company said.

The closure was due to a "declining consumption" of fresh milk and significant changes in retailing.

Müller has operations in Shropshire at Market Drayton, Minsterley and Telford, which are not believed to be under threat.

The decision follows a 45-day statutory review of the company’s dairy network.

During the review, Foston dairy was identified to be most at risk due to its size and inability to absorb significant production volume from other dairies, its current level of utilisation and its geographical position relative to customers.

The consultation included discussions with employees, unions and other employee representatives.

Most dairy farmers who supply Foston will be unaffected with milk switched to be processed at other dairies, but the company will be in direct contact in the next week with a small number of farmers who are located in areas not close to other dairies to discuss and consider future options for their milk.

Patrick Müller, chief executive at Müller Milk & Ingredients, said: “We fully recognise that this decision will be devastating for our employees at Foston, but if we are to have any prospect of building a fresh milk business which is sustainable in the short and longer term, we need to make significant changes to reduce our costs.

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“We must adapt quickly to meet the realities of a changing market. Inaction is not an option and would place at risk the future viability of fresh milk, long regarded as a staple of the nation’s fridges.

“It is important to stress that the workforce at Foston has handled this review period with the utmost professionalism and diligence. That this site must now cease production is no reflection on the capabilities and dedication of our employees.

“Wherever possible, we will offer our colleagues opportunities to relocate within our network, and we will do everything we possibly can to support those who do not wish to relocate or for whom there are no roles.”

James Pugh

By James Pugh
@JamesP_Star

Shropshire Star Business and Farming Editor.

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