First Milk proposes closure of cheese packing facility

First Milk proposes closure of cheese packing facility

First Milk has today informed employees at its Maelor cheese packing facility near Wrexham of the business's proposal to close the facility by the end of May 2014.  

The proposal to close the site follows the loss of a significant customer contract and a consequent strategic review which concluded that it is no longer economically viable for the business to keep the site at Maelor operational. 

A consultation period with employees and their representatives will commence shortly.  If the closure is confirmed then the employment of up to 231 employees could potentially be affected.

A spokesperson for the business said, "We very much regret the need to make the proposal to close our Maelor operation. We have a hard-working, loyal and committed workforce there and we are aware of the impact that this news will have on them. We will of course seek to provide those potentially affected with every support and address ways in which the impact of the proposals can be reduced.

"We have already briefed the Trade Unions at national and local level and have committed to work closely and constructively with them over the coming weeks and months.

"In terms of our creameries in Wales, England and Scotland, it is business as usual.

"There is increasing demand for good quality British cheddar and we currently supply a number of customers with bulk cheese which is then packed at third party facilities. In the event of the closure of Maelor, we have plans to extend these arrangements.
"We remain fully committed to producing high quality British cheese from members' milk as efficiently as possible, and providing our customers with a first class service.

"As a farmer-owned co-operative, the reason we're here is to deliver sustainable returns to our members and this announcement today supports that objective."

ENDS

For media enquiries, please contact:

Lee Truelove
head of communications, First Milk Ltd.

E: leetruelove@firstmilk.co.uk
M: 07767 241507
T:  01544 318794

About First Milk

First Milk is the UK's only major dairy company owned 100% by British dairy farmers.

As a business with a passion for brand innovation and sustainability, it is constantly seeking fresh ways of working with partners across the supply chain to drive pioneering solutions to industry challenges.

This has been supported through the recent acquisition of added value businesses, by rapid progress on launching new products and securing new customers in the UK and international markets.

For further information on First Milk, please visit www.firstmilk.co.uk or follow the company on Twitter @first_milk and YouTube www.youtube.co.uk/firstmilk1 

A copy of First Milk's sustainability report is also available to download via its website - www.firstmilk.co.uk/sustainability/

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