Page last updated at 17:26 GMT, Thursday, 24 September 2009 18:26 UK

Job losses over dairy firm review

Robert Wiseman milk
Robert Wiseman Dairies employs more than 4,500 staff in Britain

More than 200 jobs at a dairy company in the South West could be at risk after an operational review.

Robert Wiseman Dairies says it may cut production at Okehampton in Devon to one shift a day - affecting 93 staff.

A further 88 posts may be at risk at Bridgwater in Somerset, along with 33 posts in Bristol. Staff in Devon are to be offered relocation to Bridgwater.

The reviews are linked to the planned opening of a £15m distribution centre in Amesbury, Wiltshire, in November.

Union consultation

The firm has begun a consultation process with union representatives over the move and said it is planning to recruit 300 staff for the new Wiltshire depot.

Martyn Mulcahy, Wiseman's Group Operations Director, said: "Whilst it is our intention to continue creating new jobs in the South and South West, each of our facilities must match our overall operational requirements going forward.

"We are committed to consulting with staff representatives at each stage of these reviews and have pledged to minimise any job losses and will offer relocation packages to those who may be affected."

However, John Gorle, national officer for the Union of Shop, Distribution and Allied Workers (Usdaw) said the announcement came with mixed feelings.

We are doing all we can to ensure that all our members are treated fairly during the process, and have begun local consultation today
John Gorle, Usdaw

"We welcome the opening of the depot at Amesbury and with it the creation of around 300 jobs," he said.

"However, we are disappointed that this means the possible loss of nearly 210 jobs at Robert Wiseman Dairies sites in Bridgewater, Bristol and Okehampton.

"We are doing all we can to ensure that all our members are treated fairly during the process, and have begun local consultation today.

"This will allow our representatives to examine the business case and look at all the alternatives."

Robert Wiseman Dairies, which was founded in East Kilbride, Scotland, in 1947, employs more than 4,500 staff and operates dairies in Aberdeen, East Kilbride, Glasgow, Manchester, Droitwich Spa, Okehampton and Bridgwater in addition to 15 distribution depots around Britain.



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