First Milk Announces Changes At Maelor Cheese Packing Site

First Milk is having to restructure its cheese packing as a result of Dairy Crest transferring its cheese packing volume to its new facility at Nuneaton. As a result, up to 93 jobs may be affected at First Milk's Maelor packing site, close to Wrexham.

Dairy Crest has confirmed to First Milk that they will commence transferring cheese-packing volume from Maelor to Nuneaton from January 2009. The Dairy Crest volume accounts for around 40% of the cheese packed at Maelor.

Peter Humphreys, First Milk's chief executive, commented: "When we purchased Dairy Crest's retailer brand cheese business in 2006, we agreed that we would continue to pack cheese for them for the next two to three years. We recognised of course that there was a possibility that Dairy Crest would wish to set up their own cheese packing facility at some point.

"This has now become a reality and Dairy Crest has now shared specific timings around transferring this volume and we are working with them on a transition plan.

"Unfortunately the transfer of this volume means that there will be job losses at Maelor, as we will require a smaller number of people to pack the reduced cheese volumes.

"We are speaking with the Unions covering the Maelor site and hope that by announcing this news as early as possible that we are able to achieve the role reduction we need primarily through voluntary redundancy.

"Going forward, we will also be designing new flexible working patterns covering a full 24 hour/7 day a week system.

"Our priority now is to consult with our people at Maelor about the implications of the proposed changes."

Ends

For more information contact:

Jill Coyle, Communications manager, First Milk
Direct dial: 0141 847 6884, Mobile: 07825 625205, Email: jillcoyle@firstmilk.co.uk

Paul Flanagan, Group communications director, First Milk
Direct dial: 0141 847 6789, Mobile: 07767 241452, Email: paulflanagan@firstmilk.co.uk
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