Action group meets to discuss future of closure-threatened McVitie’s factory

The first meeting of an action group set up to explore options for the future of a closure-threatened McVitie’s factory in Glasgow has taken place.

Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes co-chaired the meeting of council union and industry experts looking to prevent the factory from shutting down and the loss of up to 468 jobs to redundancy.

The factory’s owners, Pladi, announced proposals to close its Tollcross site, subject to a “full and meaningful consultation with employees”, with the global snack firm highlighting “excess capacity” across its UK sites.

Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken and Ms Forbes jointly chaired a group to consider any viable counter-proposals during the consultation that could result in a sustainable future and avoid closure of the site.

Following the meeting, Ms Forbes said: “Today Councillor Aitken and I convened the first meeting of the Pladis Action Group and reiterated our commitment to leave no stone unturned in our efforts to find a viable and sustainable future for the Tollcross site and its workforce.

“We had a really positive discussion with the Trade Unions, Scottish Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland and Clyde Gateway, and everyone is absolutely focused on the task ahead.

“In the coming weeks, the Pladis Action Group will continue to work diligently and at pace to explore all options available and provide the company with a proposition that demonstrates the support that can be offered and help retain the jobs and safeguard the site.”

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Ms Aitken said: “Glasgow City Council will continue to work with the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and the trade unions to do everything we can to keep the Pladis McVities factory in Tollcross open.

“It is worth repeating that the proposed closure would be a huge blow to not only the workers and their families, but the wider city, with the potential loss of up to 900 jobs and £52 million to Glasgow’s economy.”

GMB Scotland organiser David Hume said: “There is a strong commitment on the part of everyone involved to defend these livelihoods and to save manufacturing in the east end of Glasgow, and we will need that clarity of purpose to fully engage Pladis and its MD David Murray in the weeks ahead.

“Nearly 50,000 people have now signed the workforce petition to stop the closure of the Tollcross plant, and determination is growing among workers and the local community that McVitie’s will not be another manufacturing casualty.

“It’s their factory, it’s their future, and everyone is fighting for it.”

Pat McIlvogue, Unite industrial officer, added:  “Unite welcomes the involvement from Kate Forbes, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy as a clear signal of the seriousness facing the workforce at McVitie’s in Tollcross.

“There was unanimous agreement that all options must be on the table to ensure as many of the workers are kept in employment as possible including incentives, further investment and looking at a new site.

“However, what has to happen now as a matter of urgency is that the Scottish Government needs to directly engage with the power brokers at Pladis to convince them that there are viable alternatives to closure and Unite offers our full support in this effort.

“Pladis now has a duty of care to the workforce to explore these options with us.”