pladis to proceed with McVitie’s factory closure in Glasgow

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

The  96-year-old biscuit factory in Tollcross, Glasgow, is going ahead, despite fierce intervention to get pladis to reverse its plans. Pic: pladis
The 96-year-old biscuit factory in Tollcross, Glasgow, is going ahead, despite fierce intervention to get pladis to reverse its plans. Pic: pladis

Related tags pladis Pladis Action Group Mcvitie's Yildiz holding Tollcross Glasgow City Council Scottish government Scottish enterprise Skills Development Scotland

Despite aggressive opposition, intervention by the Government and the tabling of a ‘compelling’ proposal to save the 472 jobs at stake, pladis is proceeding with the closure of its historic biscuit factory in Tollcross, first communicated to employees on 11 May.

According to the McVitie’s maker, it gave the proposal by the Scottish Government-formed Pladis Action Group ​to build a new cost-efficient plant on a nearby site careful review, but found it ‘did not present a viable alternative to the original proposal’ to address excess capacity across the company’s UK and Ireland sites.

pladis operates seven manufacturing sites in the region, along with a distribution hub and offices that together employ more than 4,600 people.

The Tollcross plant dates back to 1925 and is a major employer in a hard-hit area of Glasgow that typically has higher levels of social deprivations and unemployment. Almost 500 people will be made redundant in the second half of 2022 when the factory will cease operations.

Regret to announce

In a statement, David Murray, pladis UK & Ireland MD, said, “We know this news will be difficult for our colleagues at Tollcross, so it is with regret that we announce our intention to proceed with the proposal to close the site. Our priority is to provide employees with the on-going support they need as we continue with the consultation. 

“pladis is home to some of Britain’s best loved brands that have been part of the fabric of our society for nearly two hundred years. In order to protect them for generations to come, we must take steps to address excess capacity in the UK.”

Labour MSP Paul Sweeney said, “This news will come as a body blow for the workforce at McVitie’s.

"Despite a workable counterproposal being submitted, pladis have failed to engage constructively and in good faith rejecting it out of hand and confirming their intention to continue with the closure.

“The proposal would have seen manufacturing continue in the East End, ensuring continued employment in a community that has borne the brunt of austerity. pladis stated that they wanted to make efficiency savings, which is exactly what this proposal delivered, yet the company still see fit to simply dismiss it.”

Hefty price tag for all

According to news reports, the closure of Tollcross is estimated to come at a £30m price tag for pladis. The Herald also said ‘the knock-on effect of closure would hit a further 400 jobs, with the total cost to the economy estimated at £49m per year’.

However, these figures, along with calls for the company to reverse plans by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy, Kate Forbes MSP and Councillor Susan Aitken, reps from trade unions, the Glasgow City Council, Scottish Enterprise, Clyde Gateway and Skills Development Scotland – and a petition signed by almost 80,000 people – have not deterred pladis.

The company said the consultation process focused on redundancy arrangements will continue. Production from Tollcross will be moved to its other sites within the UK.

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