A prolonged strike by staff at one of Candia's plants in western France has brought production to a standstill.

The plant, situated in Le Lude and employing around 190 staff, is set to close in 2014 as part of a restructuring programme.

Two other Candia plants in Saint-Yorre and Villefranche-sur-Saone, will also close affecting 313 jobs. Staff will be offered alternative employment at other sites.

Industrial action started at the plant last Thursday with staff protesting about a company job protection scheme, comprising bonus payments, which a union official described as "unacceptable".

"We're are right at the start of the negotiation process regarding this scheme. Despite the strike action, there continues to be dialogue between
management and unions and we are hopeful the plant will return to normal very soon," a spokesman for Candia told just-food.

The restructuring programme announced in November, focuses on making the company's milk production "sustainable" by consolidating its manufacturing base.