For immediate release 11/4/16
NORTH EAST MPS MEET MULLER FOR MILK TALKS
MP for Gordon, Alex Salmond, alongside MP for Banff & Buchan, Dr Eilidh Whiteford, met with Muller representatives in Aberdeen on Monday to discuss the pending closure of the processing plant at Tullos.
During the meeting, which took place on site at the factory on Craigshaw Drive, Mr Salmond and Dr Whiteford raised the triple threat of issues the plant closure poses to the North East.
Over 98 employees at the plant stand to lose their jobs, whilst 43 dairy producers across Aberdeenshire face a surcharge of 1.75 pence per litre to transport their milk to Muller’s plant in Bellshill.
In addition, consumers in the North East face the prospect of local milk being shipped hundreds of miles before being shipped back, posing potential consumer and environmental issues.
Muller, represented by Communications Director, Graeme Jack, and Agricultural Director, Lyndsay Chapman, gave assurances that a consultation period was ongoing.
The meeting follows Mr Salmond’s discussions with NFUS representatives in Strichen on April 10, and comes ahead of a meeting with unions on April 15.
Dr Whiteford said:
“Milk producers in the North East simply cannot sustain their businesses in the current situation, which is why Alex and I are determined to help and ensure that our constituents get the best possible deal, whatever Muller’s final decision may be.”
Mr Salmond said:
“Dairy farmers in the North East are facing a serious situation and are under increasing pressure to maintain and grow their businesses as a result of the economic challenges faced by the dairy industry today.
“It was valuable to meet with Muller representatives and to discuss potential alternatives to their proposals. Their assurances of a genuine consultation period where these alternatives would be considered was a useful commitment, and my SNP colleagues and I will seek to hold them to that commitment."
Notes to Editors
Bavarian dairy company Muller announced plans to close its Aberdeen and East Kilbride plants earlier this month, at the potential combined cost of 229 jobs.
98 employees are based at the plant in Aberdeen.
43 farms currently send milk to the North East processing plant at Tullos, and will be required to pay an extra 1.75p per litre to send milk to Muller’s Lanarkshire plant at Bellshill, or face finding new buyers when their contracts expire after a notice period of 12 months.
£15m is currently being invested in the Bellshill plant over three years in an attempt to expand the dairy’s range of products.
Muller bought over East Kilbride-based dairy, Robert Wiseman, in 2012 and then Dairy Crest in December 2015.
According to Muller, both the Aberdeen and East Kilbride plants are operating below capacity, with over 60% of capacity unused in Aberdeen.