UPDATE: MARS and Murray Goulburn are sacking more than 100 workers between them in a horror day for food manufacturing in Victoria.
The confectionery company is shedding 38 positions at its Ballarat plant, while 64 jobs are going at Murray Goulburn’s Rochester plant, north of Bendigo, the Herald Sun reports.
MG chairman Philip Tracy said the announcement this morning that the cooperative would shed 64 jobs and close the milk drying part of its Rochester operation was part of an overall company review.
"It is consistent with our review of all our operations, it's one of the efficiencies we were looking for in our $100 million in cost efficiencies," he said.
"These efficiencies flow through to the milk price."
"All of Murray Goulburn's operations are being reviewed and if we find ways of improving efficiencies we will act on them."
Mr Tracy said he was at the community meeting in Rochester this morning and while there were concerns for the plant staff and the town, many realised efficiency gains at a cooperative would flow back into the hands of farmers.
"It will stay in the regional areas, just in farmers hands," he said.
All MG plants are under review at the moment.
Earlier today, the dairy giant announced it would scale-back its plant at Rochester in a bid to increase its farmgate milk price.
In a supplier letter sent out this morning cooperative managing director Gary Helou said the number of employees at its Rochester site would drop by 64, while the milk powder drying operation would be closed until higher milk production in northern Victoria "can justify its re-commencement''.
The Rochester site would be "managed as a satellite of the company's Cobram operation, enabling consolidation of management roles across our northern Victorian operations'', Mr Helou wrote.
Cheese and whey processing would continue as well as milk transport and field services.
"The decision was necessary to maintain Murray Goulburn's international competitiveness following reduced milk production in northern Victoria and southern Riverina,'' the letter said.
"This will be uncertain period for staff at the Rochester site and we will do all we can to support them through this process.''
Read more at the Herald Sun.