The supermarkets’ price ‘squeeze’ on dairy producers was blamed for today’s (Monday 22 September) announcement that 261 jobs will go at Dairy Crest’s plants at Hanworth, south west London and in Chard, Somerset.
Unite, the country’s largest union, said that Dairy Crest was caught between the unrelenting pressure of the supermarkets to drive down prices for customers and the legitimate desire of farmers to get a decent price for their milk.
Unite said that 202 jobs were under threat at the milk bottling site at Hanworth and 59 at Chard, which makes flavoured creams, such as brandy butter.
Unite national officer Matt Draper said: “We will be working closely with Dairy Crest to mitigate the job losses that are a severe blow to our hard working and dedicated members and their families. We will be investigating whether employees can be relocated to other Dairy Crest plants.
“As doorstep delivery moves over to the use of plastic bottles, what we are seeing here is the death knell of the traditional milkman delivering bottled milk to the doorstep as the nation sleeps.
“The reason for this is that supermarkets are selling four pints for £1, while dairy companies’ delivery prices are 79 pence a pint – they just can’t compete.
“Companies, such as Dairy Crest, are being squeezed by highly competitive supermarkets and dairy farmers seeking a decent return for the milk they produce.”
The company will now start the consultation process with the trade unions on the closures.
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940 and/or the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065.
Notes to editors:
- 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.