Employees, union shocked by proposed Müller Wiseman Dairies depot closures

By Mark ASTLEY contact

- Last updated on GMT

More than 140 jobs at Müller Wiseman Dairies' Whitburn and Keith distribution depots could be lost if the proposed closures are approved.
More than 140 jobs at Müller Wiseman Dairies' Whitburn and Keith distribution depots could be lost if the proposed closures are approved.

Related tags: Robert wiseman dairies

Müller Wiseman Dairies has opened talks regarding the proposed closure of two distribution depots in Scotland – an announcement that has left the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) and many unaware employees “shocked.”

The company – formerly Robert Wiseman Dairies – announced yesterday (12 June 2013) that it had launched a 45-day statutory consultation on the future of its distribution depots in Keith and Whitburn.

If it pushes through the proposed closures, more than 140 jobs will be on the line – including 116 at the Whitburn depot and 25 at its site in Keith. An additional 15 administrative and management roles are also under review across the business.

Müller Wiseman Dairies has stressed, however, that in the event of closures, some employees will be offered the opportunity to transfer to distribution roles at the company’s Aberdeen and Cambuslang depots – where up to 103 positions could be created.

Union and employees “shocked” by announcement

USDAW, which represents workers at both depots, admitted it was caught off-guard by Müller Wiseman Dairies’ announcement.

“We’re shocked by this announcement and will be working closely with the company to look at all of the options short of compulsory redundancy,”​ said USDAW national officer, John Gorle.

“We’ll be busy during the next few weeks talking to our Reps and members on site to go through the company’s plans and to consider the best way forward. These are uncertain times in the sector as companies reorganise their manufacturing and distribution networks but USDAW will be doing all it can to protect jobs and represent the workforce,” ​he added.

Workers at Müller Wiseman Dairies’ Whitburn depot appear equally as surprised by the news.

In response to a Facebook post by the West Lothian Courier, several workers from the plant claimed not to have heard the news from Müller Wiseman Dairies, but from friends, on the news, and on the social media sites.

“I work at the Whitburn depot and I find out about it on Facebook! And I was working today and still didn’t get told,”​ said one man.

“I work for this company….and only found out through a friend,” ​another added.

Review of operational and administrative efficiencies

Müller Wiseman Dairies’ consultation on the future of the distribution depots is part of a wider review of its operational and administrative efficiencies of the business.

Commenting on the consultation, Müller Wiseman Dairies managing director, Carl Ravenhall, said that despite its “excellent network” ​of distribution depots it must “adapt to changes in the requirements being made of us by customers.”

“We operate in a very competitive environment and it is important that our structure reflects the current and future needs of the business. It is right that we properly review our network, taking into account the views of our employees and their representatives,” ​Ravenhall added.

Related topics: Manufacturers

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