Derby

Müller to close Foston dairy with loss of 223 jobs

Foston diary Image copyright Google
Image caption Foston diary, formerly owned by Dairy Crest, was taken over by Müller in 2015

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

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.

The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) said it was a "devastating blow" for the workforce.

During a consultation period, Müller said Foston had been identified to be most at risk due to its size and inability to take on significant production volume from other dairies.

Patrick Müller, chief executive of Müller Milk & Ingredients (MMI), 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.

"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."

USDAW said it was unable to persuade the company to maintain its operation in Foston.

However, a spokesman said the union has managed to agree "enhanced" redundancy terms and relocation support for those who secure alternative roles within the firm.

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