AUSTRALIA'S largest dairy group Murray Goulburn will cut 300 jobs - 12% of its workforce - in a move it says will help it compete internationally.
The Victorian-based co-operative is best known for its Devondale and Cobram cheeses and Liddells milk ranges and employs 2400 workers.
Of those to be made redundant, 168 staff will be from processing and distribution sites, 59 from head office.
A further 74 had been lost through natural attrition, the company said.
Managing director Gary Helou said the restructuring could cut company costs by $100 million this year.
He said that falling world market prices for dairy products due to higher supply forced Murray Goulburn to act.
The goal was to increase the company's ability to compete internationally while offering better prices for producers, he said.
A spokesman for National Union of Workers told ABC NewsRadio on Friday morning the co-operative's decision was "an enormous shock to workers".
"This is a profitable, iconic co-operative that makes a lot of money and good profits," he said.
"Essentially, all they're doing is cutting their headcount, getting rid of good-paying, direct jobs and saying to the remainder of the people, 'Work harder'."