The company will begin a 45-day consultation period with staff and unions, beginning November 10, it confirmed yesterday (November 3). The company said it would try to find alternative roles for staff affected by the move, and also pledged to work with its dairy farmer suppliers to “review their options”, before closing the factory in 18 months.
Müller Milk & Ingredients’ md Andrew McInnes said: “Regrettably, it is clear that the dairy at Chadwell Heath is no longer economically viable.
‘Complete overhaul and modernisation’
“It requires complete overhaul and modernisation and in an industry which has struggled for many years with excess and inefficient processing capacity, we cannot justify committing the level of investment which would be required to bring this site to an acceptable and sustainable level of performance.”
The planned closure wouldn’t affect Müller’s distribution in South East England, McInnes claimed. He said the dairy firm would go into consultations with an open mind, and a determination to listen to staff.
The factory closure was revealed as part of a Müller restricting project, in which is planned to invest £60M at its Severnside and Foston, Lincolnshire sites. The investment would create up to 180 new jobs, and was part of a £100M company-wide investment project. Müller said it would further enhance its Droitwich, Manchester and Bridgwater dairy factories.
‘Plans to invest £60M at its Severnside and Foston sites’
“We are pleased to confirm proposals to invest in the capabilities of our dairies at Severnside, Foston, Droitwich, Manchester and Bridgwater, having already confirmed plans to upgrade our dairy at Bellshill,” said McInnes.
“By improving operational efficiencies and capabilities at these sites, we can unlock new innovation to transform the milk and ingredients sector, benefitting our consumers, customers, colleagues and farmers.”
Meanwhile, Müller closed its Aberdeen dairy factory in June, with the loss of 87 jobs. It also announced its East Kilbride factory would close before June 2018, putting 131 jobs at risk.
Müller restructuring plan – at a glance
- Chadwell Heath dairy factory to close in 18 months
- 389 jobs at risk
- 45-day consultation period with staff and representatives begins next week
- £100M investment in other sites