Scottish Government admits defeat in fight to keep Glasgow McVitie’s factory open

The Scottish Government has admitted defeat over attempts to keep the McVitie’s factory in Glasgow open, after owner Pladis refused to accept an alternative to closure.

The McVitie’s factory in the Tollcross area of the city supports almost 500 jobs.

Finance secretary Kate Forbes, chair of the Pladis Action Group, which met for the ninth time yesterday, said the group accepted that attempts to persuade Pladis to accept an alternative “have not been successful”.

The factory, in Glasgow’s Tollcross area, was in May earmarked for closure next year, however, the group, which also included representatives from Scottish Enterprise, employment unions and Skills Development Scotland as well as the Scottish Government, was formed to put forward counter proposals in a bid to keep it open.

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Unions claimed that there had been “no serious considerations of the alternative plans by Pladis, which also owns Ulker, Godiva and regional brands such as Jacob’s, Go Ahead and Carr’s. Around 500 staff work at the facility.

Ms Forbes said: “I very sadly accept that our attempts to persuade Pladis that there was a viable alternative to closure have not been successful.

“My thoughts are with the workforce and their families who are now facing a redundancy situation, and we will continue to support them throughout this next period. Pladis has always indicated a responsibility and willingness to discuss the potential legacy options for the site and we look forward to engaging constructively with them on what we can achieve to fulfil this ambition.”

Councillor Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “While we are very disappointed that this decision has been made by Pladis, with the impact this makes on the workforce, their families, and the wider economy, Glasgow City Council is committed to working with our partners to develop a legacy that provides infrastructure that attracts a new age of manufacturing to the East End of the city and provides jobs for the future.”

Unions called for a “lasting legacy” at the site.

Pat McIlvogue, Unite industrial officer, said: “Despite rigorous attempts by Unite to ensure a future for the factory, McVities have finally put paid to any continuation of biscuit production at Tollcross.

“Unite believes there are opportunities for McVities to leave a lasting legacy by providing resources that could involve the repurposing of the site, enabling the workers and the wider Tollcross community to have a future they can depend on. Unite is calling for McVities to do the right thing before they switch off the lights at the Tollcross site.”

Robert Deavy, GMB Scotland organiser, said: “Whilst GMB are satisfied that the redundancy process was finalised in an amicable manner which proved agreeable to our Union members, it is still a disappointment that no serious consideration was truly given to the counter proposal set out by the Action Group to keep these vital manufacturing jobs in Scotland.

“What we are requesting now is that Pladis co-operate with the Government and Trade Unions to ensure that a proper legacy is left at this historic site should the company finalise the decision to vacate. It remains the fact that this is the end of an era of an institution in Glasgow’s East End and we feel that the area should be respected as such.”