‘Future assurances needed’ for 500 McVitie’s workers

Union wants assurances from McVities over the future of its Glasgow factory

The GMB union has urged McVitie’s to give urgent assurances to more than 500 workers at its factory in Glasgow, after fears the site wouldn’t receive future funding.

Union representatives were concerned that McVitie’s’ owner, Pladis, wasn’t committed to the Tollcross factory, long-term. The GMB wrote to McVitie’s’ Tollcross general site manager Mandy Major, requesting a meeting with representatives.

GMB senior organiser Drew Duffy said: “The fact that we cannot get clarity from the general site manager over the business needs and investment plan for the future of Tollcross is deeply concerning our members.

“From the perspective of jobs, pay and prosperity, and against the backdrop of Brexit, rising cost of living and chronic manufacturing decline, the east end desperately needs a thriving manufacturing presence at McVitie’s.”

‘A crucial pillar’

Generations of families had worked at the McVitie’s factory, and the workforce was highly concentrated in the local community, the union said. The site is, therefore, a “crucial pillar” of decent employment in an area of unemployment and social dprevation, it added.

The union wanted clarity and assurances to understand what was needed to secure continued production and employment for the future, it said.

In a letter written to Major, dated August 2, Drew said: “As a responsible trade union, GMB Scotland wish to work with you as an employer to ensure the factory is meeting business needs, and that the commitment of the workforce, over many years, is reflected in the desire of owners and management to secure production at Tollcross for the future.”

Pladis said it held a meeting with workers and representations two months ago, where “a number of issues were discussed”. It had invested over £5M in the site over recent years, it added.

‘Value ongoing engagement’

A Pladis spokeswoman said: “The site manager at Tollcross received a letter from GMB Scotland only yesterday, and the company will be responding directly as we value ongoing engagement with employees and union representatives.

“We had a regular meeting with employees and GMB representatives at Tollcross two months ago at which a number of issues were discussed openly. We discussed with employees then that like all companies operating in an extremely competitive and uncertain economic climate, we review our operations on an ongoing basis – and that applies across our all our businesses and sites – in order to remain competitive.

“In recent years, we have invested over £5M in our Tollcross site, notably on production lines and operational improvements. We fully recognise the heritage of Tollcross as a manufacturing site and should there be any changes to our operations at the site, employees and their union representatives will be the first to know.”

The site, which employs more than 500 workers, manufacturers McVitie’s products, including Hob Nobs and Rich Tea biscuits, the union said. It also supplied to large retailers, including Marks & Spencer.

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