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McVitie’s owner announces Glasgow factory closure with almost 500 jobs at risk

·4-min read

The owner of UK brands including McVities has announced plans to close its factory in the east end of Glasgow, putting nearly 500 jobs at risk.

Pladis has put forward proposals to close its Tollcross site, subject to a “full and meaningful consultation with employees”.

The move would put 468 roles at risk of redundancy with the global snack firm highlighting “excess capacity” across its UK sites.

Under the plans, the Glasgow operation would cease in the second half of 2022 with production moved to other factories.

David Murray, Pladis UK and Ireland managing director, announced the consultation to employees at meetings on Tuesday.

He 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 200 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.”

As well as McVitie’s , Pladis owns Ulker, Godiva and regional brands such as Jacob’s, Go Ahead and Carr’s.

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Glasgow East MP David Linden said: “Today’s news comes as a total body blow to our community.

“Above all, it’s a massive kick in the teeth to the loyal workforce at Tollcross – many of whom have worked there for decades.

“Since 2017, I’ve been engaging with Pladis around the challenges they face as a business and I was genuinely encouraged to learn that things had started to turn a corner.

“Therefore, news of proposed closure comes as something of a bolt out of the blue.

“My sole focus right now is on engaging with Pladis, local and national Government, as well as the trade unions.

“This is a deeply worrying time for everyone associated with the factory at Tollcross and no stone must be left unturned as we fight to protect local jobs.”

In August 2019, Mr Linden spent a day on the production line at McVitie’s to discover what life was like for a worker at the factory.

Anas Sarwar
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar (Jane Barlow/PA)

The Scottish Labour leader, Anas Sarwar, said: “Throughout the pandemic these workers were told by the company that they were essential to the nation’s response to the crisis.

“But now, after decades of underinvestment, they have decided to close this iconic factory. This is a kick in the teeth to that dedicated workforce and McVitie’s owners must think again.

“This pandemic has created a jobs crisis in Scotland and this news will devastate almost 500 families. My thoughts are with them today.

“We urgently need a jobs plan as part of a national recovery. Ministers both in Edinburgh and London cannot sit on their hands and let more Scots end up out of work.

“They must act urgently to protect livelihoods in the east end.

“Scottish Labour stands ready to work with trade unionists, Scottish Enterprise and both of Scotland’s governments to keep this iconic brand and these vital jobs in Glasgow.”

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One of those trade unions, GMB Scotland, slammed the move.

Its 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.

“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 GMB will absolutely fight against this closure.”

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