First Milk's Maelor creamery shuts on Monday

Maelor Creamery The Wrexham creamery packed 30,000 tonnes of cheese a year

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Workers at a Wrexham creamery completed their final shift as it closed its doors on Monday after losing a big contract.

First Milk announced in October its cheese-packing plant in Marchwiel was likely to close with the loss of 231 jobs unless it could find more work.

Local MP Susan Elan Jones called it a "bitter blow" for staff and Wrexham.

General manager David Ditcham said some workers at the Maelor depot have been able to find new jobs.

"This has only been made possible with the assistance of the Department of Work and Pensions, GAP Recruitment, and Careers Wales, as well as the wide range of local companies which supported our recent jobs fair" he said.

'Enormous credit'

Clwyd South MP Ms Jones said although some staff have been helped to find alternative work, "the real issue here is that the original redundancies by First Milk should never have happened in the first place".

Last October the firm announced it had lost a "significant" contract with Asda.

Start Quote

We have been doing everything we can to help our staff find alternative employment”

End Quote David Ditcham First Milk general manager

At the time, the supermarket chain said that from April 2014 it was switching the supply of some of its cheese from First Milk to Arla following a strategic review, adding that its "decision was not taken lightly".

Mr Ditcham said: "We recognise what a difficult time this has been for our employees at Maelor and it is to their enormous credit that they have remained committed as individuals and as a team to doing a fantastic job right up to their last working day on Monday 31 March.

"We have been doing everything we can to help our staff find alternative employment and we are pleased that so many of them now have new jobs to go to."

In 2012 First Milk announced £13.5m redevelopment plans at the Maelor depot which it said would safeguard 220 jobs with new production facilities to help it remain competitive.

The company is a co-operative owned by farmers across the UK.

The Maelor creamery packed 30,000 tonnes of cheese a year.

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