150 jobs to go as dairy closes
By Liz HearnshawALMOST 150 workers are facing redundancy after the owners of a dairy announced they were to relocate their business.Mildenhall's 70-year-old dairy, owned by Parmalat Dairies, will shut in the summer after rising milk prices made the yoghurt-making business unsustainable.
By Liz Hearnshaw
ALMOST 150 workers are facing redundancy after the owners of a dairy announced they were to relocate their business.
Mildenhall's 70-year-old dairy, owned by Parmalat Dairies, will shut in the summer after rising milk prices made the yoghurt-making business unsustainable.
Managing director Chris Ball said the finance and administration functions currently carried out at the Worlington Road site would be transferred to Parmalat's head office in Egham and the production line will move to Kendal.
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“The business has been under economic pressure for a while and it has reached a stage where our financial performance is unsustainable,” said Mr Ball.
“We are just starting a consultation process with our staff and we are indicating to them that the transfer would commence in May and be completed by June.
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“There are job opportunities in Egham and Kendal which will be offered to employees and we are hoping some of them will move.
“Personally, I found it very sad to have to tell people. Many of our staff have been with us for some time and there are also a number of husband-and-wife teams working for the business who will be doubly-hit by this closure.”
Gerald Taylor-Balls, chairman of Mildenhall Parish Council, said the announcement had come as a shock to people in the town.
“Most staff will not want to relocate, which adds to the problem. This is a lot of people to find new jobs for,” he added.
“In this day and age there are not many positions available. This has come as a real blow.”
Mr Ball said efforts were being made to help those workers facing redundancy find alternative work, with bosses writing to local employers asking for notice of upcoming vacancies which their staff could fill.
“As we have given maximum notice to our staff here in Mildenhall, we are hoping we can arrange for continuity of employment,” he added.
“It is important we keep people here until our production business is transferred, but equally we are trying to make sure staff can leave here and go into another job.
“We are also using the services of an outplacement consultant, who will help our employees put together CVs and prepare for interviews.”