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Last Updated: Friday, 30 March 2007, 07:42 GMT 08:42 UK
'Sad day' as cheese plant closes
Cheese processing generic
The firm blames the closure on mounting losses
A cheese processing factory in Felinfach, Ceredigion closes on Friday with the loss of 44 jobs.

Some workers had only just moved to the cheese plant following the closure last year of the nearby Dairygold Factory with the loss of 115 jobs.

The closure of the Aeron Valley cheese plant brings to an end milk processing in the area which goes back 56 years.

The owners of the factory, Lactalis McLelland, blamed the closure on mounting losses.

Back in the middle of the last century, all the milk from North Ceredigion and large parts of South Ceredigion farms would have been collected and brought to Felinfach to the milk marketing board to be sold on as milk or primarily to make butter.

Many of the workers losing their jobs would have followed their parents into the processing industry.

Factory worker Irene Thomas said the losses, coupled with those from the Dairygold factory last year, was a "big loss" for her community.

"Emotional week"

"It is a very sad day," she said. "We are a close-knit factory, we all get along and we always worked hard together. It has been a very emotional week.

"The area is not blessed with job opportunities. It is a big loss for a little community."

Farmers' Union of Wales' spokesman said the closure of the Aeron Valley creamery at Felinfach as a devastating blow for Ceredigion and a tragic sign of the wider impact of the dairy crisis on rural communities.

"The loss of 44 jobs in a community such as this is devastating, especially on top of the job losses last year following the closure of the adjacent Dairygold plant," he added.

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