McVities owner urged to consider factory options
Jamie Hepburn: ‘devastating news’
Politicians, trade union leaders and development agency officials have come together to tackle the crisis facing almost 500 workers at the McVities biscuit factory in Glasgow which owner Pladis intends to close.
The company announced on 11 May that the Tollcross plant, which makes popular brands such as Hobnobs, will shut as part of a review of its future business needs.
It has put 468 jobs at risk at the plant which has roots in the original McVities business in the city.
Scottish Government Business Minister Jamie Hepburn and Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken will jointly chair the group, which will also include trade unions, Scottish Enterprise and other partners.
The group, which will also include representatives from Skills Development Scotland and Clyde Gateway, will consider any viable counter-proposals during the consultation that could result in a sustainable future.
The plant at Tollcross is due to close
It will also review the business case put forward by the company to identify potential alternatives to site closure.
Mr Hepburn said: “This announcement has been devastating not just for those who work at the plant, but for their families and the wider east end of Glasgow.
“I have been clear that the Scottish Government will pursue every opportunity to find a viable and sustainable future for the plant and its workforce.
“The action group will leave no stone unturned to come up with a proposition that demonstrates to the company the support which can be offered and help retain its strong historical links with the area.
“But we will require a willingness from Pladis to be engaged in the process.
“Having spoken to the unions and local politicians I am confident there is a shared desire to use the coming weeks to find a viable future for this plant.”
Councillor Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “The proposed closure of the Pladis McVitie’s factory would be a huge blow to not only the workers and their families, but also the local economy, and Glasgow City Council will do all we can to assist those people whose jobs are under threat.
“So we will now work together with the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and the trade unions on this action group to find the best possible outcomes for the factory’s workforce and the future of the site.
“We feel very strongly that Pladis has an obligation to its workers at this historic east end factory, and we will work with them to ensure that they reconsider their position and consider alternative options which would keep the factory open.”
Susan Aitken: ‘Pladis has an obligation to its workers’ (pic: Terry Murden)
Pat McIlvogue, Unite industrial officer, said: “The creation of the action group is an important step forward in the fight to keep open McVitie’s at Tollcross.
“Unite urges the owners Pladis to positively engage with the workforce and the hundreds of families dependent upon the factory remaining open.
“We hope the company will engage immediately with the action group so that we can jointly consider all the possible options available which can save jobs.
“We all have a duty of care to hundreds of families to work tirelessly in an effort to keep the factory open. Closure simply isn’t an option.”
David Hume, GMB Scotland Organiser, said: “This is the story of company that has thrived during a public health crisis, thanks to the efforts of a workforce who are now being rewarded with the closure of their plant. For Pladis it’s back to ‘business as usual’ and that can’t be left unchallenged.
“The establishment of an action group is welcome, and if it can help secure fresh investment and sustain jobs and production in the east end of Glasgow, then so much the better. It’s important the workforce can see that everyone is behind them as they fight for the future.”
Talks are taking place this week among partners to finalise the first formal meeting of the group.