DAIRY giant Müller Milk & Ingredients has confirmed that it is to close its dairy plants in Aberdeen and East Kilbride in moves that will affect 225 jobs. The closures come as part of a project to rationalise and develop its Scottish dairy operations which will also see it invest £15m in its dairy at Bellshill to create what the firm calls “Scotland’s fresh milk and ingredients centre of excellence”.
The investment over the next three years in the country’s largest fresh milk dairy will include a new cream filling hall, high-speed production lines, the expansion of the site’s processing capabilities and work designed to improve efficiencies and competitiveness while developing the ability to broaden the range of products the firm is able to make with Scottish milk.
The business said it expected to wind down operations at its Aberdeen dairy from mid-June. Operations at East Kilbride dairy will continue for around18-24 months to allow time to transfer production lines to Bellshill.
Müller Milk & Ingredients managing director Andrew McInnes said the developments were vital if the firm was to build a sustainable business in Scotland and the rest of the UK.
“Unfortunately the status quo was not sustainable within our Scottish dairy network, with both Aberdeen and East Kilbride dairies operating well-below capacity. By investing in Bellshill we will be better able to optimise the value in the milk we buy from dairy farmers,” he said.
“Wherever possible we will offer employees the opportunity to relocate within our network. We will support those who do not wish to do so or for whom there are no roles within our business and we have asked local agencies to work with us in this regard.”
Müller is offering the 43 farmers supplying the Aberdeen dairy the opportunity to continue supplying the business subject to a 1.75pence per litre charge for the cost of transporting their milk from Aberdeen to Bellshill for processing. Contracts of farmers who don’t wish to continue supplying Müller will terminate on expiry of 12 months’ notice.