Union challenges McVitie’s on Glasgow plans

McVitie’s has been urged to reassure workers over its long-term commitment to production at its Glasgow factory.​

Union GMB Scotland has voiced concerns that funding is not being brought forward for the modernisation of production lines at the Tollcross site in Glasgow’s East End, which employs more than 500 workers and produces Hobnobs and Rich Tea biscuits.

In a letter to the company’s site manager, Mandy Major, GMB senior organiser Drew Duffy described a​ lack of “clarity over the business’ needs and investment plan”​ for the future of Tollcross as “deeply concerning our members”.

“Generations of families have worked here and the workforce is highly concentrated in the local community and the Greater Glasgow area - a crucial pillar of decent employment in an area of high unemployment and social deprivation,” he wrote.

“So from the perspective of jobs, pay and prosperity, and against the backdrop of Brexit, rising costs of living and chronic manufacturing decline, the East End desperately needs a thriving manufacturing presence at McVitie’s.

“That’s why we are calling for clarity and reassurances, so we can understand what is needed to secure continued production and employment in the East End for years to come.”

A spokesman for McVitie’s-owner Pladis, the global biscuit and confectionery giant, said the site manager received a letter from GMB Scotland “only one day before a press statement was issued”.

“The company will be responding directly as we value ongoing engagement with employees and union representatives,” he said. “As a matter of course, we meet with our employees and union representatives on a very regular basis and only two months ago our senior management team completed a full site-wide briefing, in which a number of issues and concerns were discussed frankly and openly. Furthermore, the national officer of GMB for food and d​rink was with us on-site only last week.

“We discussed with employees then that, like all companies operating in an extremely challenging 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.

“We fully recognise the heritage of Tollcross as a manufacturing site and, should there be any proposals for changes to our operations at the site, employees and their union representatives will be the first to know.”

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