Tnuva  - Hagay Frid - 16092011
Tnuva dairy products. Photo by Hagay Frid
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Tnuva and Strauss are losing control over the dairy shelves at the major supermarket chains: Super-Sol and Mega are starting to arrange their dairy cases themselves, sources have told TheMarker.

Until now, the dairies had their own staff who would enter supermarkets and arrange the shelves. The dairy cases had been their last holdout, after the Antitrust Commissioner ordered them out of other sections of the store in 2005.

The supermarkets had argued that they weren’t equipped to do so, and had received an extension allowing the dairies to continue controlling their dairy cases through the end of 2013.

Now, though, Super-Sol is arranging its own shelves in 43 branches in northern Israel, and will take control of 40 branches in the Sharon and The Tel Aviv region next week, according to the sources. Mega also has taken control of its own dairy shelves in the north.

The three big dairies − Tnuva, Strauss and Tara − employ some 1,500 people whose job is to arrange shelves at supermarkets. All are likely to be laid off, including some 700 workers at Tnuva alone. The supermarkets are expected to hire about 40% of the people working in the field.

The supermarket chains already have staff arranging the shelves in other departments, so they don’t necessarily need all the dairies’ current employees, said an executive at one of the dairies. Another dairy executive admitted that the step would be good for smaller, lesser-known dairies such as Gad, while it clearly would be bad for the big dairies.