Yoghurt giant Muller has binned nearly 400 London jobs as part of £60m shake-up of its fresh milk and butter operations.
After consulting with unions, Muller confirmed the job losses at its north east London dairy in Chadwell Heath. Operations at the plant, which was bought from Dairy Crest dairies in late 2015, will be wound down over the next 15 months with 389 permanent jobs set to be lost.
The cuts are part of a wider corporate restructuring of UK operations, with the firm planning to invest £60m and create 180 jobs nationally.
Managing director of Muller Milk & Ingredients Andrew McInnes said:
We understand that the decision to wind down processing operations at Chadwell Heath directly affects a number of our colleagues, but unfortunately this announcement is unavoidable.
Muller established a fresh dairy division in the UK in 2012 when it bought Robert Wiseman dairies. The firm added the purchase of Dairy Crest three years later – the restructuring plans rubber-stamped today are the next step at rationalising operations.
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Following the Dairy Crest deal, Muller concluded the Chadwell Heath plant had suffered from significant under investment. Sources indicated to City A.M. the cost of converting the plant so that it was fit for purpose would have reached £70m-£80m.
McInnes concluded: "We simply cannot justify the level of investment required for the complete overhaul and modernisation required at the site."