LOCAL business owners have united against the McVitie’s factory closure, warning that it will be a ‘hammer blow’ for the area.

Cafes, shops, pubs and takeaways in Tollcross are among those who are worried about the repercussions the loss of 500 jobs to the area could have if pladis make the decision to shut the plant. Shopfronts on Tollcross Road were emblazoned with “Save McVitie’s Tollcross” posters and links to sign the petition, showing their support for the workers.

On Thursday, staff were handed their HR1 forms which is advance warning of redundancies before the company starts off the 45 day consultation period.

Glasgow Times:

Yvonne McDonald from family-run cafe MMM. Delicious on the corner of Tollcross Road and Wellshot Road said the closure is set to have big consequences for them. “We get orders from there. It will massively impact us but the community as well.”

The cafe has been on Tollcross Road for seven years and many of the McVitie’s workers visit with their families and small children. Yvonne added: “I was praying that the closure would not be the case.

“Tollcross is not known for being a really well off area. We will all feel it.

“They’ll not be able to come in here with their kids on a Friday. They come in here and get them a treat. To a lot of people on a Friday a treat is coming in and getting a wee cone and something to eat. They’ll not get that now because they’re not going to have that income. That might just be £5 or £6 but that’s for six different people and every week we’re going to lose that.”

Glasgow Times:

Awais Akhtar, who owns a hardware shop and a convenience shop on Tollcross Road gets lots of passing trade from the workers. He said: “I’ve got two shops and they’re both quite busy when the come for lunches and stuff like that.” He is worried that he will lose this trade.

Glasgow Times: Matthew Sherry and Rose GrantMatthew Sherry and Rose Grant

Across the road at Bell’s Bar; punters were similarly concerned about the plant closure.

Matthew Sherry did not work at the factory, but he knew friends and family who did. He said: “You’re looking for the government, you’re looking to try and get Sturgeon into this. This is a big blow for the community. You would think to yourself that a factory like that, up and running, someone could move in there and make their own biscuits and they’d be well bought.”

An action group was set up by the Scottish Government along with trade unions and local politicians who put proposals to the company as to how it could be saved. Unite and GMB who represent employees at the factory claimed pladis has failed to engage with them.

Matthew added: “You would hope that something could be done. You would rather it was a going concern rather than shutting it down. It would be better if they kept it open.”Glasgow Times:

Next door, Tony Karaylin who owns “Tony’s” chippy said he will lose business if the factory closes. He said: “The workers they will come here. There are two shifts at seven and seven so before work they will come here and after work they will come here. I’ll miss it if they’re going to close it but what can you do? It’s not only me, it’s everybody. I don’t know what we’re going to do.”

Further up the road, Rachael Bennett who runs florist Marlene’s Flowers has a contract with the factory and sends down two or three bouquets a week. She says the effects on the wider community will be ‘devastating’. Rachael added: “It happened so quickly. It’s a small community and it will be absolutely devastating.

Glasgow Times: Rachael Bennett of Marlene's FlowersRachael Bennett of Marlene's Flowers

“Valentines Day, Christmas and if people are working late in the factory, they might come in and grab something for their mums, for their wives; for their girlfriends, so there will be less footfall for us. I’m really quite shocked about it.It’s really devastating.

“It came as a really big blow to them, they weren’t expecting it at all. I’m sure they won’t take it lying down. They’ve got all the support of the local businesses behind them and we’ll rally round again if it comes to it.”

Glasgow Times: Posters in shopfront, backing McVitie's workersPosters in shopfront, backing McVitie's workers

But not everyone in Tollcross is expecting a downturn in trade. Parkhead Citizen’s Advice Bureau is preparing for a huge amount of casework if the factory is to close. Manager Liz Willis said:”I think the East end agencies will need to be ready to support on a wide subject matter including debt, relationships, employability and mental health.”

She emphasised the need for those faced with redundancy to seek advice early, adding: “My mantra is, you don’t know what you don’t know. There are so many agencies out there who can offer support.” Liz also warned that there might be a longer waiting list. She said: “It couldn’t have come at a worse time with furlough ending and cuts to advice services.

“The one thing about Glasgow is that we always have each others backs when times are tough and the CABx in the East end will be ready to help if needed.”

Glasgow Times:

Dr Ewan Gibbs, who is a lecturer in economics at the University of Glasgow warned that any proposed closure could have a multi-generational impact. He said:

“Things to look out for include reduced economic activity in the area. It’s likely the multiplier effects are removed so suppliers and other businesses dependent on having a large workplace in the area lose out and demand for everyday items might fall too.

“Older workers who are made redundant might not find like jobs and retire earlier on reduced earnings. Younger workers are likely to have to find jobs further afield and often on worse conditions if where they were working before provided relatively high wages, especially for manual workers. It might also be new jobs are less secure and/or not suited to the demographics of the displaced workforce.

“So in the long term it can lead to areas losing facilities and infrastructure that depended on the larger workplace and more dependency on commuting to elsewhere for work and socialising.”