140 jobs at risk over Wiseman dairy depot closures

DAIRY firm Muller Wiseman has confirmed it will close two depots in Moray and West Lothian before the end of the year, putting almost 140 jobs at risk.

The move could lead to 140 jobs being lost. Picture: Contributed

Fears over the future of the sites, in Keith and Whitburn, were raised in June when the company said it was reviewing its depot operations in the face of changing customer needs, as many large supermarkets have milk delivered to regional ­distribution centres rather than individual stores.

The closures will affect 23 posts at Keith and 116 roles at Whitburn, but the firm said staff may be offered the chance to transfer to its depots in Aberdeen and Cambuslang, where it plans to create at least 13 and 68 jobs respectively.

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Managing director Carl Ravenhall said: “Employees, management and unions worked extremely hard to find ways of addressing the challenges facing these depots, but we have been unable to establish an economic basis to distribute milk from Keith or Whitburn.”

Muller Wiseman was created last year when Glasgow-based Robert Wiseman Dairies agreed to a £279.5 million takeover offer from Germany’s Muller.

Rival Arla Foods also announced yesterday that it was planning to close a dairy and distribution plant in Leicestershire, with the potential loss of up to 370 jobs, as it shifts work to a new site in Buckinghamshire.

• Macduff Shellfish, one of the UK’s largest seafood processors, yesterday agreed to buy a factory in Stornoway from Young’s Seafood for an undisclosed sum.

Under the deal, all 33 staff from the Young’s plant will transfer to Macduff Shellfish.

The Stornoway factory processes whole langoustines, which are sold to Macduff Shellfish, and de-shells prawns for use in Young’s scampi. Young’s plans to move supply and processing of its wholetail prawns to its Annan factory.