Arla to close Essex dairy

Arla Foods is planning to close its fresh milk operation at Hatfield Peverel dairy in Essex.

The site processes milk for Arla Cravendale and Arla Big Milk, as well as for own-label fresh and organic milk for large retailers.

The proposal would mean the loss or relocation of up to 200 jobs by the end of July this year, said Arla, with the possibility of a further 32 employees being transferred to a logitsics company.

The job changes are in addition to the 500 job losses announced in early February as part of a global reorganisation aimed at creating a simpler, more agile structure and to reduce duplication across countries, said the company. 

See also: Arla management shake up leads to 500 job losses

The company will move most of the volume lost by the closure of the Essex operation to its new £120m site at Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, which it opened in 2014.

Smaller volumes of milk would be delivered to other Arla fresh milk dairies dependent on customer requirements and a full consultation was being carried out with affected staff, said the co-operative.  

More than 130 workers at the site earmarked for closure are represented by the union Unite. Regional officer Mark Barter said that the first opportunity to meet management would probably be this Friday.

“We will be asking for the reasons why this plant has had to close – we will require a full explanation.”

“There is not much similar employment in the area and the commute to Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire would be far too much on a daily basis.

“We will want to investigate every opportunity to save these milk production jobs.”

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