Dairy cows


Müller Milk & Ingredients has confirmed it will axe both its East Kilbride and Aberdeen dairies as part of a shake-up of its Scottish operations, with the loss of 225 jobs.

The processor confirmed yesterday (31 May) it had completed a 45-day consultation with staff at the two sites, which it said were “operating well below full utilisation”.

Müller said it would wind down operations at its Aberdeen dairy “as soon as is reasonably practical”, expected to be mid-June. It had earlier suggested that some operations at the dairy could continue.

Operations at the East Kilbride dairy will continue for the next 18 to 24 months to allow time to transfer production lines across to Müller’s dairy at Bellshill, which will benefit from a £15m investment over the next three years as part of a plan to create a fresh milk and ingredients centre of excellence for Scotland.

Investment at the former Robert Wiseman fresh milk dairy near Glasgow, which is the largest in Scotland, will include a new cream filling hall, high-speed production lines, expansion of site processing capabilities and investment in site infrastructure.

“We recognise this change will affect our colleagues at both sites and farmers in the North East but this announcement is a key step towards building a sustainable, diverse and future-focused dairy business in Scotland and the UK,” said Müller Milk & Ingredients MD Andrew McInnes.

“Unfortunately the status quo was not sustainable within our Scottish dairy network,” he added. “By investing in Bellshill we will be better able to optimise the value in the milk we buy from dairy farmers.”

The announcement was described as “deeply disappointing” by NFU Scotland, which expressed concern over the long-term future of the 43 dairy farms that supplied the plants.

Müller has offered all affected farms the opportunity to supply Bellshill on condition of a 1.75ppl transport surcharge. However, NFU Scotland questioned the viability of such a charge on already under-pressure farmers.

“Many businesses are not in a good place and this will leave them considering if they have a future in dairying,” said NFU Scotland milk committee spokeswoman Jean McLean.