Glasgow’s McVitie’s factory is set to close with hundreds of jobs at risk, the brand’s owner has announced.
Pladis, the global company that owns the Tollcross site, said the closure would mean 468 people’s jobs were threatened and the proposal was subject to consultation.
The factory’s operations would cease in the latter half of 2022, with production moved to other Pladis sites in the UK.
The firm said the planned closure was a result of excess capacity in the business’ factories and is necessary to ensure its future success.
The factory first opened in 1925, as part of the Macfarlane and Lang’s Victoria Biscuit Works, and has since been where Hobnobs and Rich Tea Biscuits have been made.
David Murray, Pladis UK and Ireland managing director, said: “We know this news will be difficult for our colleagues at Tollcross.
“Our priority now is to provide them with the support they need during the consultation process. Pladis is home to some of Britain’s best loved brands which have been part of the fabric of our society for nearly 200 years.
“In order to protect them for generations to come, we must take steps to address excess capacity in the UK. This overcapacity limits our ability to make the right investments in future capabilities to meet the very big changes in our industry.”
Pladis, formed in 2016, is behind some of the UK’s best known snack brands including McVitie’s, Jacob’s, go ahead! and Carr’s. With its headquarters in the UK, the firm operates seven factories and its research and development hub across the country.
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: “Throughout the pandemic these workers were told by the company that they were essential to the nation’s response to the crisis.
“But now, after decades of underinvestment, they have decided to close this iconic factory. This is a kick in the teeth to that dedicated workforce and McVitie’s owners must think again.
“This pandemic has created a jobs crisis in Scotland and this news will devastate almost 500 families. My thoughts are with them today.
“We urgently need a jobs plan as part of a national recovery. Ministers both in Edinburgh and London cannot sit on their hands and let more Scots end up out of work. They must act urgently to protect livelihoods in the east end.
“Scottish Labour stands ready to work with trade unionists, Scottish Enterprise and both of Scotland’s governments to keep this iconic brand and these vital jobs in Glasgow.”
Unite Scotland, the union, called the news devastating and urged Glasgow City Council, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government to meet with trade unions to look at ways of keeping the site operational.
Pat McIlvogue, Unite industrial officer, said: “The news that hundreds of jobs are at risk at McVitie’s Tollcross factory is devastating. The factory has been present in the local area for 100 years, and the McVitie’s brand which was established in Scotland, has a footprint dating back 200 years.
“We can’t allow a world-renowned Scottish brand to have no workers left in Glasgow and Scotland. Closure simply isn’t an option.”
Glasgow East MP David Linden said: “Today’s news comes as a total body blow to our community.
“Above all, it’s a massive kick in the teeth to the loyal workforce at Tollcross – many of whom have worked there for decades.
“Since 2017, I’ve been engaging with Pladis around the challenges they face as a business and I was genuinely encouraged to learn that things had started to turn a corner.
“Therefore, news of proposed closure comes as something of a bolt out of the blue.
“My sole focus right now is on engaging with Pladis, local and national government, as well as the trade unions.
“This is a deeply worrying time for everyone associated with the factory at Tollcross and no stone must be left unturned as we fight to protect local jobs.”
Gary Smith, secretary of the union GMB Scotland, said: “This is an utterly shameful decision by pladis – the lowest of the low after a wretched year.
“Staff have worked through the Covid-19 pandemic because management insist these are key workers, helping this business increase its lockdown sales into billions of pounds, but instead of re-investing some of that money back into the Tollcross plant and its dedicated workforce, management are rewarding them with the closure of their site within a year.”
An Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are concerned to learn that Pladis UK is entering into consultation with its workforce over the potential closure of its Tollcross site. This is a huge blow to the company’s staff, their families and the local area who will be affected by this decision.
“The Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise has offered support and ministers have spoken to Glasgow City Council to discuss our partnership approach going forward.
“Scottish Enterprise has been working with Pladis UK and will continue to engage with the company throughout its consultation period to explore all possible options to support the business and its workforce.
“We greatly value the food and drink industry in Scotland so this is a matter of concern both locally and nationally. Our priority will be to work in partnership with the company, the unions and the local authority to provide every support possible to help ensure a productive future for the Tollcross site and its workforce.
“Should job losses happen, we will provide support to all affected employees through our initiative for responding to redundancy situations, Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE).”