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Bid to save under-threat Glasgow McVitie’s factory with ‘compelling proposal’

·3-min read

A “compelling proposal” to secure the future of the closure-threatened McVitie’s biscuit factory in Glasgow will be made to the owners of the site.

Nearly 500 jobs are at risk at the factory in Tollcross, which opened nearly 100 years ago in the city’s East End and makes confections including Hobnobs and Rich Tea biscuits.

Turkish-owned parent company Pladis has blamed “excess capacity” at its UK sites and plans to shutter the Glasgow factory in the second half of 2022 and move production elsewhere.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has vowed to do “everything we possibly can” to save the factory.

A fresh bid to save the site will be made on Tuesday by an “action group” made up of union chiefs, politicians and business people, which would see a new factory built on a nearby site.

Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said: “This proposal is compelling and would secure a future for Pladis in the city. I trust they will give it the consideration it deserves.”

Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said: “The action group has together worked at pace to identify and explore options to secure the future of these crucial manufacturing jobs in Glasgow.

“I would hope and expect the senior management at Pladis to now study the proposals carefully, and to engage with the action group on them in a constructive and thorough manner.”

Pladis, which last month started issuing redundancy notices, said it has been “frequently engaging” with the action group.

A spokeswoman said: “Our priority is the continued engagement with the employee representatives, and we remain open to considering any alternative proposals through the formal consultation process, which is ongoing.”

Unite union industrial officer Pat McIlvogue said: “We believe that the proposal put forward to build a new factory on a nearby site will produce efficiency savings and make this one of the most advanced biscuit manufacturing sites in the UK.

“Unite is asking that Pladis study and positively engage with us on this proposal because we believe that everyone can win from this, most importantly the hundreds of jobs at stake in the local community.”

GMB Scotland organiser David Hume said: “We believe the proposal offers Pladis everything it needs to maintain manufacturing in the East End of Glasgow for the next generation, ensuring employment and opportunity for the local community that depends on it.”

Pladis acquired McVitie’s in 2014 after taking over United Biscuits, and is now reportedly the third-biggest biscuit-maker in the world.

The same year it cut the then 680-strong workforce by nearly a quarter, unions said, but the factory remains a “major employer in an area with higher levels of social deprivation and unemployment”.

McVitie’s traces its roots to the original Scottish biscuit-maker, McVitie & Price Ltd, which was established in 1830 in Edinburgh.

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