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Call for supermarkets to intervene over meat plant

SUPERMARKETS face calls to intervene on behalf of a closure-hit Scottish meat plant after it emerged its operations are to be moved to the food factory at the centre of the UK's horse meat scandal.

The plans to fully wind up Freshlinks in Glasgow's east end and relocate to ABP's plant in North Yorkshire has prompted angry reaction across the political spectrum, amid speculation the horse meat problem could earn the Scots factory a temporary reprieve.

Planned discussions between ABP and unions over the move to its Dalepak plant in Yorkshire have been postponed amid the horse meat scandal.

The Food Standards Agency is investigating the operation, while work has stopped at ABP's Silvercrest plant in Co Monaghan in Ireland "as a voluntary and precautionary measure".

Fast-food giant Burger King has also stopped sourcing meat from the company, with Waitrose removing Dalepak frozen burgers from its shelves as a precaution.

John Mason, Glasgow East MSP, said he had now written to ABP "seeking urgent clarification about the future of Freshlink, not least for the staff".

He added: "I am also contacting a number of Freshlink's high-profile customers to ask them to seriously consider this latest development. There is a role for the supermarkets here. For example, are they happy to continue receiving products from the North Yorkshire plant, which is clearly tainted with the horse meat scandal?"

Councillor George Ryan, whose ward includes Freshlinks, said: "My understanding is that the next round of redundancies are due next month and talks are on-going with the unions, so I wouldn't want people's hopes and expectations raised too much.

"However, there's clearly an issue around the fact these jobs are leaving Glasgow and moving into a place at the centre of this current scandal."

An ABP spokesman said: "As part of the employee consultation process which has already been communicated, the company was due to meet with Freshlink employee representatives this week. As a result of current workload within the group, this meeting will be postponed to another time in the near future. The plans for Freshlink remain unchanged."

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