Pladis to shut McVities factory with 468 job losses
Plant in Tollcross is to close
McVities owner Pladis has rejected appeals to save the biscuit factory in Tollcross, Glasgow and will go ahead with closing it as planned.
The company said it reached its decision after “carefully reviewing alternative proposalsl” put forward by trade unions and government representatives.
In a statement it said the these proposals did not present a viable alternative to the original proposal.
The company employs 468 staff at the site.
The rationale for the proposed closure, first communicated to employees on 11 May, is to address excess capacity across Pladis’ UK sites and protect the long-term sustainability of the business, said the company.
Production from Tollcross will move to other Pladis sites within the UK and the factory is expected to cease operations in the second half of 2022.
As part of the formal consultation process, Pladis has been meeting with employees and their representatives for over three months where the business presented and answered questions on its proposal.
Pladis said it has also engaged regularly with the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council, co-chairs of the Action Group, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes, Councillor Susan Aitken, and Scottish Enterprise, throughout the process to date.
However, there was criticism that David Murray, Pladis UK & Ireland managing director, did not attend the recent meeting to discuss the alternative proposals, which included investment in a new and more efficient factory on the site.
The consultation process will continue, focussing on the collective redundancy arrangements.
Mr Murray said: “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. 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.”
Labour MSP Paul Sweeney said: “This news will come as a body blow for the workforce at McVities. 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 plant makes well-known brands such as hobnobs
“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.
“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. 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.”
GMB Scotland senior organiser Hazel Nolan said: “It seems clear now that pladis had no intention of engaging in good faith over the future of Tollcross – General Manager Jim Cuthbert told us they “expected more” from the counter-proposals but offered no specific comment on what “more” would look like.
“That’s not good enough. If pladis are walking away from this community after nearly a century of production, and after eighteen months of constant manufacturing during this COVID-19 pandemic, the very least the workforce deserve is honest answers.
“That honesty is also needed for the members of the Action Group because if a firm like pladis no longer sees Scotland as a viable place to do business, then everyone needs to understand why and what must be done to prevent further manufacturing decline.”