However, a further 72 jobs will be created when a distribution centre is built at FrieslandCampina’s site in Maasdam.
The closures are part of a larger restructure which will see changes to the distribution of FrieslandCampina’s fresh milk, yoghurts and dairy desserts. The company will reduce the number of products and types of packaging it creates.
Cees ’t Hart, CEO, Royal FrieslandCampina, said “We’re ahead of schedule in achieving our route2020 strategy, thanks to the favourable developments in Asia and the sales of ingredients for the food industry. We are investing heavily in this area.
“However, margins on several branded products are under pressure in a number of European countries due to lagging consumer spending. Improving efficiency and stepping up the pace of innovation for branded products are therefore key to our approach in Europe. We already initiated this process in Germany and Hungary earlier this year.”
Employees and unions were informed last Thursday fresh dairy production will be moved in mid-2015 from the two defunct plants to factories in Rotterdam and Maasdam.
The soon-to-close Eindhoven site currently employs 142 people, and the Woerden plant 58.
Jobs will be cut at the company’s Maasdam facility, with 15 losses in the production department, and 18 in distribution. Five workers will be laid off at the Rotterdam facility, and eight at Limmen and Drachten.
The announcement comes after an expansion drive by FrieslandCampina, whose “route2020”growth production strategy invested €600m ($810m) and took on 350 extra employees since 2011.
The drive boosted production in the Netherlands, focusing on infant nutrition and ingredients.
The company claims the present hiring U-turn is a response to low customer spending. The job cuts and latest innovation drive were prompted “to meet growth objectives and improve efficiency,” said the firm.
Finding new jobs
FrieslandCampina confirmed it will make its remaining plants more efficient by increasing production capacity. In response to changing consumer markets, the company wants to invest further in “innovation, production technologies, an automated distribution centre and innovative packagings,” it said.
“We want to lower costs and at the same time invest in our brands for our home market in Europe. Unfortunately, this plan has consequences for a number of our employees. We see it as our responsibility to help them find new jobs within or outside FrieslandCampina,” said Bas van den Berg, MD, Netherlands and Belgium.