Dairy Crest has announced that it intends to close its site at Crudgington in Shropshire within the next 18 to 24 months, putting up to 161 jobs at risk.
The company says that following a review of its UK spreads manufacturing operations, it proposes to consolidate the manufacture of all retail butters and spreads at its existing site in Kirkby, Liverpool and to increase bulk butter production at its Severnside creamery in Gloucestershire.
The company also proposes to transfer its technical development centre from Crudgington to Kirkby.
Dairy Crest say overall job losses will be offset by the creation of around 50 extra jobs at Kirkby and another 20 at Severnside.
The company has just completed the transfer of Clover production from Crudgington to Kirby, a decision announced last year which led to around 90 job losses.
Speaking on Friday September 21st, Paul Taylor, Usdaw Area Organiser said:
“Today’s decision, while still a shock for members, won’t really have come as a surprise to them. Both Crudgington and Kirkby have been operating under capacity and ever since the review started a couple of years ago, we’ve been aware the company might seek to consolidate spreads manufacturing on just one site. We have feared the worst for Crudgington ever since the announcement to transfer Clover production was made.
“Despite this, I have been on site today and the news has really demoralised everyone. Many employees and indeed members of their families have worked at the site for years. There is a real pride and loyalty in the workforce that the company will never be able to replace.
“We will examine the company’s business case for the proposal in detail and do all we can to try and save jobs at the site, but in the circumstances it is likely to prove very difficult. Any closure is unlikely to take place until 2014 at the earliest and we’ll use this short breathing space to do all we can to support members and explore all alternatives to protect their livelihoods.”
Usdaw (the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK’s fourth biggest and fastest growing trade union with around 100 members employed at Dairy Crest’s Crudington site.