THE McVitie's factory in the East End of Glasgow is planned to close, in a move that was branded as "devastating" for workers.

Pladis, the global snacking company, revealed the proposal today, subject to a "full and meaningful consultation" with employees at the Tollcross site.

Glasgow Times:

The Turkish-owned firm said it was working at "excess capacity" and the closure would allow it more freedom to invest in the future. 

The Tollcross site has been identified for potential closure based on "a comprehensive business analysis, which considered several factors including utilisation, volume and product mix," according to Pladis.

This proposal would see production from Tollcross moved to other Pladis sites within the UK and the factory shutting permanently in late 2022.

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David Murray, the firm's managing director in the UK and Ireland, who announced the consultation to employees at meetings today, said: "Our priority is to provide workers with the support they need during the consultation process.

"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.”

The factory comes under the Glasgow East constituency, which is represented at Westminster by David Linden. 

Glasgow Times: -KA. Photo by Kirsty Anderson

He called the news a "body blow" for workers, adding: "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. 

"News of a proposed closure comes as something of a bolt out of the blue."

The SNP MP said his "sole focus" will be speaking with the firm, local and national government and trade unions. 

The firm was urged to rethink the decision by Annie Wells, Tory MSP for Glasgow.

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She said accused Pladis of failing to fully support the site, adding: "Losing hundreds of jobs from this factory will have a monumental effect on the community in Tollcross and those nearby as well."

Susan Aitken, the leader of Glasgow city council said she had met with the Scottish Government business minister, Jamie Hepburn, to discuss how jobs could be kept on the site. 

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Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour Leader, 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.

“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."

Unite Scotland revealed that the Tollcross factory, which first opened in 1925 as part of the Macfarlane and Lang's Victoria Biscuit Works, is a major employer in an area with higher levels of social deprivation and unemployment.

The union is requesting that all relevant bodies including Glasgow city council, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government meet with the trade unions as a "matter of urgency" to explore ways that could keep the factory open.

Pat McIlvogue, Unite industrial officer, said: “The news that hundreds of jobs are at risk at McVitie's Tollcross factory is devastating.

"As a matter of urgency all relevant groups including McVitie’s, Glasgow city council, the Scottish Government and the trade unions must come together to work on behalf of the workforce.

"We have a duty of care to hundreds of families to work tirelessly in an effort to bring forward proposals which can keep the factory open.

"We can't allow a world-renowned Scottish brand to have no workers left in Glasgow and Scotland. Closure simply isn’t an option.”  

Gary Smith, the GMB’s Scotland secretary, branded the move “shameful”, adding: “Staff have worked through the pandemic, 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 within a year.”

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