Last month Usdaw speculated that the Foston site was most likely in the firing line for closure as part of Müller’s Project Darwin cost cutting and margin improvement programme. The closure would affect 228 jobs at the plant.
Usdaw national officer Daniel Adams said: “Müller Milk and Ingredients has reviewed its UK dairy network and confirmed their intention to close the Foston site. Usdaw, along with other trade unions nationally, has fully engaged in collective consultation, where we interrogated the company’s business case and explored all alternatives to closure.
No solution found
“Unfortunately, we were not able to find a solution that the company would agree to. This news is a devastating blow for a loyal workforce. Consultation meetings with the company are ongoing, where our focus will now be seeking the best possible deal for the staff impacted by this devastating decision.”
The union said it would provide support and advice to its members that would be affected by the closure.
Commenting on the proposed closure, a Müller spokesman said: “We remain focused on ongoing discussions with our employees and their representatives as part of the statutory collective consultation process, which concludes in mid-June.
“Final decisions will only be taken at this point. Under these circumstances it is inappropriate for us to provide further comment.”
Industry expert Paul Wilkinson said the closure of any of Müller’s plants was an inevitable consequence of the industry moving toward fewer, larger sites and consolidating their operations.
“For Müller, having built their business through acquisition the imperative to rationalise production is almost a given. Separating processing from logistics also makes sense to ensure skills and focus are optimised,” said Wilkinson.
Meanwhile, 2 Sisters Food Group has announced plans to close one of its poultry processing plants in a bid to grow efficiencies in its supply chain.