WORKERS are facing the dole for the second time after bosses announced the closure of Blaydon Dairy.
Almost 100 staff look set to be laid off at the processing site, owned by Medina Dairy. It will be the second time in just two years the site has shut down, after Dairy Farmers of Britain collapsed in 2009.
A total of 260 jobs were lost when DFB went into receivership. Many former staff we re-employed by Medina after they bought the site in January 2010.
Gary White, director of processing at the Chainbridge Road site, said: “We have announced the proposed closure of our dairy in Blaydon.
“This is predominantly driven by excess spare capacity within our processing sites and the fact that a large percentage of the milk sold and distributed from our Blaydon site goes as far afield as Yorkshire and Lancashire.
“We are now entering into a 30-day consultation period with our staff to explore all possible options. In the meantime it is business as normal at the site and our customers will not be effected by this announcement.”
Medina plans to move work from Blaydon – which includes distributing Watsons milk and cream in the North East, Yorkshire and Lancashire – to its processing plant in Huddersfield. In a statement, a spokesman for Berkshire-based Medina said: “We acknowledge that this will be a bitter blow for our employees in the North East but at the same time we have to recognise that this will further strengthen the Medina Group moving forward.”
Workers at Blaydon dairy, which currently employs 97 people, were yesterday devastated by the news.
One worker said: “I worked at this site when it was Dairy Farmers of Britain and was taken on again when Medina took over.
“A lot of the staff here gave up other jobs to come back to the dairy when it re-opened. It is a very sad day for us.
“The announcement has been made that the dairy is closing, and we have all been given our 30 days’ notice.
“We knew things weren’t going well as they had brought in a guy from head office to restructure and already laid some workers off, but it was still a blow.” Blaydon was the biggest producer in the region when DFB went into receivership in June 2009. Some 260 jobs were lost, while hundreds more farmers were not paid for milk supplied during May and the first two days of June.
Members also lost £63.6m in capital investments in the co-operative.
Medina bought the dairy from the receivers in January 2010.
Operations restarted in March, and the site produced more than one million litres a week.
Medina Dairy, the largest independently-owned dairy family business in the UK, also operates a processing plant in Wickham, Hampshire.