35 jobs under threat at dairy base in Plymouth after merger
THIRTY-five jobs are under threat at the city base of dairy firm Milk Link.
The company is planning to close its Plymouth office, at Marsh Mills, following a merger with Scandinavian co-operative Arla Foods.
It wants to move all the work carried out in Plymouth to head office in Leeds.
But Milk Link stressed the plans are under consultation and not definite yet.
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And it vowed to do all it can to redeploy workers within the business, or find them jobs elsewhere.
Milk Link's Bristol office, with 85 staff, is also affected.
A Milk Link spokesman said: "While the merger is a positive development for Arla and our UK farmer owners, unfortunately, it is likely a number of our colleagues may be affected directly by the merger.
"Indeed we have announced proposals to integrate all functions currently based at Milk Link's site in Plymouth to the head office in Leeds.
"It should be stressed these proposals are subject to consultation with affected colleagues and they are solely related to the merger of the two businesses and are not a reflection of the hard work, loyalty and commitment shown by our colleagues to the business."
He added: "Indeed we will make every effort to support Plymouth colleagues potentially affected by this announcement, by seeking alternatives both within and external to Arla Foods."
The merger agreement between Arla Foods and Milk Link was completed on Monday.
As such Milk Link farmers are now part-owners of Arla Foods through their corporate membership of the cooperative and are now called Arla Milk Link.
At the same time all of Milk Link's operations are to be integrated into the Arla group.
"We will trade as Arla Foods and the UK operations will be headquartered in Leeds," the spokesman said.
He said the merger would make Arla "the UK's number one dairy company" with a turnover of £2billion.
The firm produces fresh and long-life liquid and flavoured milks, cream, Cheddar, cottage cheese and speciality cheese, butter, spreads and dairy ingredients.
It has processing facilities across the UK and supplies 3.2billion litres of milk a year.
The spokesman said: "The enlarged business will focus on delivering a sustainable future for our farmer owners the majority of whom, in the UK, farm in the South West.
He said the integration of the two businesses would bring "a range of incremental growth opportunities and deliver synergy related savings".
"The process of identifying and maximising these opportunities is under way and is a key focus across the business," he said.
Arla Foods is the largest producer of dairy products in Scandinavia, operates in 13 countries and employs 17,000 people.