Arla have announced that jobs are at risk, after a strategic review into their operating efficiency.
The company wants to shut down one of its sites in order to explore potential opportunities for different kinds of production at the factory, which could leave 97 employees without work.
Llandyrnog under fire
The Arla site at Llandyrnog looks set to close as the company consider ceasing production while deciding which route to take next. There are 97 people in food jobs at the factory, who would subsequently be without work. If they do not come to a decision about new production, that could be permanent.
But that’s not all. There are more jobs at risk in other areas, as the company restructures on a large scale. The current cheddar cheese production will move from Llandyrnog to the creameries in Taw Valley and Lockerbie. After this, all of the cheddar cheese packing lines are likely to be moved to a single packing facility in Oswestry.
When the packing and production lines have been moved around, the Malpas and Lockerbie packing operations will no longer be needed – resulting in the closure of these sites. That means that a total of 154 roles are likely to be at risk, including a majority of food operative jobs.
While they have promised to try to recruit displaced members of staff within other vacant positions across their network, they have also conceded that they will need to provide outplacement support. This will include working with local job centres and other food producers, as well as running job fairs, to help those affected to find new vacancies.
However, they have also said that they do not expect the changes to have any impact on the supply of Welsh milk.
These changes are just the latest wave to come as part of their three-year improvement plan, dubbed Calcium. A spokesperson said that they had ““identified a substantial opportunity to diversify its cheese production as well as improve efficiencies consolidating operations across its production and packing sites, where it currently has capacity which is not currently being fully utilised”.
Managing Director of Arla Foods UK Tomas Pietrangeli said, “This proposal enables us to not only drive efficiencies, but also retain ample capacity to better meet the evolving needs of our customers in areas such as retail, foodservice and export. It’s also critical that we retain our approach to innovation and never compromising quality in our cheese business and we feel that these steps are the best to take to ensure our sustainability. We recognise that this will be a difficult time for all those colleagues impacted by these proposals and our priority right now is to support them to manage this situation as best we can. We will now be entering full consultation with all our colleagues affected and their trade union or colleague representatives.”
It's not only roles within the factories that are going to be axed as the company changes perspective. There are a further 15 head office jobs set to go, with consultation processes already begun for those who will be affected. Their next step is to review their logistics network and relationships with third party providers.
Pietrangeli added, “We have also entered into a period of consultation with some of our logistics colleagues around work patterns and reward structures and a number of our corporate function colleagues around their potential risk of redundancy. Our ambition is to minimise any potential impact on them. We will be continuously looking at ways in which we can transform our business to ultimately secure the best returns from our farmer owners.”