McVitie’s factory owners confirm plans to close site

Almost 500 workers could lose their jobs at the factory in Tollcross, Glasgow following the decision.

McVitie’s factory owners confirm plans to close site STV News

The owners of the McVitie’s factory in Tollcross have confirmed they intend to proceed with the closure of the site.

It comes after a consultation by pladis, the company which owns the factory, with employees and representatives.

The firm said that it had “carefully” reviewed alternative proposals put forward, but indicated that they “did not present a viable alternative to the original proposal”.

Staff at the site were first told of the move to close the site in May, with operations at the factory expected to cease in the second half of 2022.

In June, workers at the Tollcross site held a protest outside the Scottish Parliament as part of efforts to save the estimated 472 jobs put at risk.

A protest was held outside the Scottish Parliament by workers.

An action group, jointly chaired by Scotland’s business minister Jamie Hepburn and Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken, had put forward alternative proposals in order to try and find a viable future for the plant.

The group also included trade unions, Scottish Enterprise and other partners.

GMB Scotland organiser David Hume had said that the redundancy notices were an “act of extreme bad faith” and “a gross insult to hundreds of workers and their families who are fighting for their livelihoods and community”.

Announcing the news on Wednesday, pladis have indicated that the consultation process will continue, with a focus on collective redundancy arrangements. 

David Murray, pladis UK & Ireland managing director said the company’s priority is to provide staff with the on-going support they need.

“We know this news will be difficult for our colleagues at Tollcross, so it is with regret that we announce our intention to proceed with the proposal to close the site,” said Murray.

“Our priority is to provide employees with the on-going support they need as we continue with the consultation.  

“Pladis is home to some of Britain’s best loved brands which have been part of the fabric of our society for nearly two hundred years. 

“In order to protect them for generations to come, we must take steps to address excess capacity in the UK.” 

“I couldn’t be more disappointed – there are nearly 500 jobs at stake here in a community that simply cannot afford to lose them.”

Paul Sweeney, Scottish Labour MSP

Scottish Labour MSP Paul Sweeney said that pladis had “failed to engage constructively” with the proposals put forward.

“This news will come as a body blow for the workforce at McVities,” he said.

“Despite a workable counterproposal being submitted, pladis have failed to engage constructively and in good faith rejecting it out of hand and confirming their intention to continue with the closure.

“The proposal would have seen manufacturing continue in the East End, ensuring continued employment in a community that has borne the brunt of austerity.

“Pladis stated that they wanted to make efficiency savings, which is exactly what this proposal delivered, yet the company still see fit to simply dismiss it.

“I couldn’t be more disappointed – there are nearly 500 jobs at stake here in a community that simply cannot afford to lose them.”

Sweeney warned that the country is at a “crisis point” In manufacturing, and called for a proactive approach to be a priority.

“While I appreciate that the First Minister has personally intervened, the Scottish Government must now step up and use every power at its disposal to save these jobs,” he said.

“If that means introducing a comprehensive state aid package then that’s exactly what needs to happen.

“We are at a crisis point in Scottish manufacturing. A proactive approach must now take priority – simply firefighting a constant barrage of redundancy notices from multinational companies is evidently an ineffective strategy and one that has been allowed to continue for far too long.”

Deputy first minister John Swinney said the announcement from Pladis was “extremely disappointing”.

He said: “The Scottish Government, alongside Glasgow City Council, GMB and Unite Union, are equally perplexed by this decision as the Pladis CEO gave firm assurances to the First Minister and I in July that they remained committed to working with us to review the proposal submitted by the action group – a serious proposal that aims to support Pladis to retain a factory in Glasgow and secure the jobs at risk.

“Alongside our enterprise agencies we are currently engaging with Pladis to understand why this announcement has been made and what it means for those employed at McVities. We remain absolutely committed to working with them to find an alternative to closure.

“Our overriding priority remains the welfare of the staff and their families and we want to reassure them that we will leave no stone unturned in trying to find a positive outcome. Should Pladis decide to reject the proposals of the action group and proceed with closure, the Scottish Government will put steps in place to support staff who may be facing redundancy.”

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