Dairy co-op collapse job fears

Mark mark at tlio.org.uk
Fri Jun 5 08:39:26 BST 2009

The landrights and economic future of thousands of farmers are in doubt as
the cooperative 'Dairy Farmers of Britain' (DFOB) goes into receivership,
no doubt squeezed by the market power of the big 4 supermarkets. 1,800
member farmers who supply more than a billion litres of milk each year and
is responsible for 10% of the UK's milk productionwill be affected by the
co-operative going into receivership which the NFU has been told will
leave DFB suppliers without pay for their milk collected in the last
month. However, these are still mass production-style dairy production
units whose sustainablility must be called into question, as well as that
of the business model of the DFOB.  DFOB struggled after losing one of its
biggest contracts, to provide milk to the Co-operative supermarket chain
around the country.

Dairy co-op collapse job fears
BBC News Online
Thursday, 4 June 2009
Ref: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/north_east/8082914.stm

Hundreds of jobs are under threat in Denbighshire and Bridgend after the
cooperative Dairy Farmers of Britain (DFOB) went into receivership.

DFOB - which employs 2,200 across the UK - includes two sites in Wales, at
Llandyrnog, Denbighshire and Bridgend.

Some farmers have not be paid for last month's milk - one is owed £15,000.

Local people say the community depends on the jobs. A union spokesman said
it was "devastating" for an already struggling industry.

DFOB has 1,800 member farmers who supply more than a billion litres of
milk each year and is responsible for 10% of the UK's milk production.

According to figures in October 2008, the creamery at Llandyrnog, which
first opened in the 1920s, employed 160 people and had a turnover of more
than £70m.

The Bridgend site, acquired in 2006, is capable of processing 200 million
litres of milk each year, supplied by farms across south Wales.

In north Wales, any jobs losses in Llandyrnog would hit the area very
hard, locals said.

Farmer Gareth Edwards wasa member of the co-operative and says he
currently has no buyer for his milk

Resident Graham Carrington-Sykes said he hoped something could be done
protect the future of the dairy.

"There are many families with many members of that family all relying on
the income from the factory... the local shops, the local pubs and
crucially all the farmers," he said.

Another local Bethan James, said in some cases more than one member of a
family were employed there, working opposite shifts in order to organise

"I have got many friends that work within there that are couples," she
added. "Yes, it would hit the village, very much so."

Eifion Huws, chair of the milk committee for the FUW, said some farmers
had not receive money owed for last month's milk - a total of £15,000 in
his case.

Mr Huws said other dairies would be unlikely to take on more farmers
because of the availability of cheap imported milk.

John Gorle of Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) -
which represents the majority of DFOB workers - said while it might be a
struggle to find a buyer for the whole of the business, he was "very
hopeful" one would be found for Llandyrnog.

"It's a well run, efficient operation with a loyal and committed workforce
which even in this difficult situation I believe has a future," he added.

National Farmers' Union (NFU) Cymru President Dai Davies, a dairy farmer
from Carmarthenshire, said his "number one priority" was to help members
"through this difficult time".

Meanwhile, Denbighshire County Council said it would be calling for an
urgent meeting with DFOB's owners and the Welsh Assembly Government's
Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones.

Councillor David Thomas, cabinet lead member for regeneration, said: "Yet
again today we are having to deal with another major blow to the county's

"Only yesterday the county was dealing with news that Indesit was to close
its Bodelwyddan plant with the loss of over 300 jobs."

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