Blow for big brand
McVities’ factory to shut with loss of 468 jobs
Factory makes famous brands
McVities’ biscuit factory in Glasgow, which has roots in Scotland stretching back 200 years, is expected to close with the loss of 468 jobs.
Turkish owner Pladis, the global snacking company, has blamed excess capacity across its UK sites and a need to ensure it can continue to invest in the success of the business.
The factory at Tollcross manufactures a range of notable products including Hobnobs and Rich Tea Biscuits.
The site has been identified for closure based on a “comprehensive business analysis” which considered several factors including utilisation, volume and product mix.
Under the plan, production from Tollcross will be moved to other Pladis sites within the UK and the factory would shut in the second half of next year.
McVities factory in Glasgow
David Murray, Pladis UK & Ireland managing director who announced the consultation to employees at meetings today, 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 two hundred 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.”
The company’s reasons for closing the business come against data showing a rise in snacking during lockdown.
Pladis acquired the McVitie’s business in 2014 after its takeover of United Biscuits, which made it the third largest biscuit manufacturer in the world. In that same year, United Biscuits also cut its then 680-strong workforce at Tollcross by almost a quarter.
The Tollcross factory, which first opened in 1925 as part of the Macfarlane and Lang’s Victoria Biscuit Works, is a major employer in an area with higher levels of social deprivation and unemployment.
The McVitie’s presence in Scotland goes back to the original Scottish biscuit maker, McVitie & Price, which was established in 1830 in Edinburgh.
Unite Scotland is requesting that all relevant bodies including Glasgow City Council, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government meet with the trade unions as a ‘matter of urgency’ to explore ways that could keep the factory open.
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.
As a matter of urgency all relevant groups including McVitie’s, Glasgow City Council, the Scottish Government and the trade unions must come together to work on behalf of the workforce.
“We have a duty of care to hundreds of families to work tirelessly in an effort to bring forward proposals which can keep the factory open. We can’t allow a world-renowned Scottish brand to have no workers left in Glasgow and Scotland. Closure simply isn’t an option.”
GMB Scotland Secretary Gary Smith 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
“David Murray has no clue how important this plant is to the local economy or what the implications of its closure will be. There has been no indication or presentation of the “comprehensive business analysis” which the company speaks of, and we’re not prepared to wait for formal consultation either.
“We want full transparency from Pladis immediately on the rationale for this proposal, and we will absolutely fight against this closure.”