Unite, the country’s largest union, is demanding to see the financial figures to justify the loss of 389 jobs at Muller’s milk plant at Chadwell Heath in east London
Muller Milk & Ingredients bought Dairy Crest’s milk production business last year and then conducted a strategic review of its sites. The company intends to invest £60 million in the milk business across the UK, but a casualty of this review is the closure of the Chadwell Heath plant.
Unite blamed the closure on the lack of investment by the previous owners, Dairy Crest, which meant the cost of processing the milk at the plant was too high.
Unite national officer for road transport, commercial logistics & retail distribution Matt Draper said: “The hardworking workforce has had a double kick in the teeth. They took a 10 per cent pay cut when the site was owned by Dairy Crest to keep the operation going, but despite this, the new owners are now closing the plant.
“We are meeting the company on Thursday (10 November) at the start of the 45-day consultation process and we will be asking to see the financial figures that justify this decision. We will be exploring with the management every possibility to keep the plant going.
“But we have to acknowledge the unrelenting pressure that supermarkets are exerting on milk producers to drive down prices to often uneconomic levels – what has happened at Chadwell Heath is a symptom of this unpleasant phenomenon.
“This is a devastating blow for the workers and their families as well as to local economy as there are 389 jobs at risk with another 30 to 40 at the Nampack bottling plant which shares the site. Unite will be doing its utmost in the days and weeks ahead to support our members at this painful time.”
It is understood that the company wants to close Chadwell Heath in the next 18 months. Unite has about 330 members at the site (including those at the Nampack operation).
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.