THE closure of a dairy depot in the Lothians which will see more than 100 people lose their jobs has been described as “bitterly disappointing”.
Fresh milk processor Müller Wiseman Dairies has confirmed that it is to wind down its depot operations at Whitburn, with closure of the sites expected before the end of the year. The closure, which affects 116 posts at the West Lothian depot and 23 positions in Keith, follows a 45-day consultation process.
Usdaw’s Scottish Divisional Officer Lawrence Wason described the news as “bitterly disappointing”.
He said: “We’ll continue to meet with the company to explore all available options short of redundancy and will obviously look at possible redeployment to the Aberdeen and Cambuslang depots.
“We welcome the company’s offer of travel expenses to those staff who can transfer and we will be discussing this further with the company. We’ll be using the next few months to do all we can to support the workforce at this very difficult time.”
Distribution will gradually be transferred to depots in Aberdeen and Cambuslang, where at least 81 new posts will be created.
Müller Wiseman Dairies said workers who wished to transfer would be offered initial incentives to compensate for extra travel costs.
But Lothian Green MSP Alison Johnstone said the job losses would impact once more on West Lothian, a community still reeling from the closure of meat processing plant Hall’s of Broxburn.
She said: “It’s very sad to hear this and surprising given the strength of the Müller brand. The offer of a markedly reduced number of jobs in other parts of the country won’t suit those with roots in the Whitburn community.”
The firm said the decision had been prompted by significant reductions in the number of delivery runs from each site.
Carl Ravenhall, managing director at Müller Wiseman Dairies, said he hoped workers would consider taking up the positions which will be created in Aberdeen and Cambuslang.
He 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 for continuing to distribute milk from Keith or Whitburn. We very much regret the impact that this decision will have on these areas.”