Around 130 employees at Valio could lose their jobs as the Finnish dairy cooperative embarks on a round of restructuring.
Valio plans “change negotiations” with around 1,170 employees, discussions that are likely to address “potential dismissals and material changes to employment terms, including job description and duties”.
The company, a consumer-facing and B2B dairy manufacturer, pointed to “production and economic factors”, including rising expenses, decreased demand for its consumer products and falling global prices for its industrial lines.
Valio said the negotiations will involve staff in headquarter functions and on the factory floor. The farmer-owned company said the moves are intended to “secure the vitality of its owners and ensure the continuity of Finnish food production”.
Marianne Tammela, executive vice president of the people, strategy, and innovations function at Valio, said: “The operating environment has been very challenging for us for a long time.”
She added: “Through profitable business operations, we ensure the vitality of our owners, i.e. the dairy farms, and we secure the continuity of Finnish food production. That enables us in the long run to also create jobs and livelihoods around Finland.”
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Valio, owned by approximately 3,400 dairy farmers, said the talks are expected to last for around six weeks.
“It is estimated that the potential workforce reductions may affect up to 130 individuals, while planned alterations to employment terms and conditions could impact up to 135 employees,” the company said in a statement.
Valio currently employs around 4,300 people, with 3,700 of them based in Finland.
The company which produces cheese, yogurt, butter, milk and protein-based desserts under its namesake brand and owns a majority share in the Oddlygood plant-based business.
It generates net sales of €1.8bn ($1.96bn) annually and has subsidiaries in Sweden, the Baltics, the US and China, according to the co-op’s website. The business claims to account for a quarter of Finland’s food exports.
In November, fellow Finnish food group Fazer announced some 64 employees in its domestic factory in Koria would lose their jobs after it made the decision to focus the production of its oat drinks and oat-based cooking products at its Tingsryd factory in Sweden.