It announced earlier today it will begin talks with employees regarding the closure of its glass bottling plant in Hanworth, West London, and its cream potting facility in Chard, Somerset.
Around 60 jobs will be lost at Dairy Crest's Chard facility when it closes in the second half of 2015. Approximately 200 jobs at Hanworth, which will wind down operations over the next couple of years, will also be cut.
The Hanworth closure was proposed following a strategic review of Dairy Crest's residential delivery service.
According to Dairy Crest, the proportion of milk put into pint glass bottles in the UK has fallen from 94% in 1975 to just 4% in 2012.
In line with this decrease, Dairy Crest milk men and women will, once Hanworth closes, deliver only fresh milk in plastic bottles.
This decision is "necessary to protect the long-term future of the business," said Dairy Crest.
“At Hanworth nothing is going to change immediately but sales of milk in glass bottles are falling and we have to give our employees at Hanworth clarity over the dairy’s future,” said Mark Allen, CEO, Dairy Crest.
“We also have to let our milkmen and women know that we are doing all we can to protect their livelihoods. By offering residential customers the same great-tasting British milk from the same farmers as we do now in plastic bottles we are doing just that.”
British trade union, Unite, which will work with Dairy Crest on the employee consultations, branded the Hanworth closure "the death knell of the traditional milkman delivering bottled milk to the doorstep as the nation sleeps."
“The reason for this is that supermarkets are selling four pints for £1, while dairy companies’ delivery prices are 79p a pint – they just can’t compete,” said Matt Draper, national officer, Unite.
“Companies, such as Dairy Crest, are being squeezed by highly competitive supermarkets and dairy farmers seeking a decent return for the milk they produce.”