HOPES of saving the historic McVitie's factory in Glasgow have taken major hit as it emerged the 472 staff have been formally issued with redundancy notices.

The trade unions Unite Scotland and GMB Scotland, who jointly represent the vast majority of the 472 McVitie’s workers based at Tollcross, have reacted angrily to the move.

It comes a day after a petition of tens out thousands of signatures was presented to the House of Commons over the proposed closure.

The factory owners, Turkey-owned and UK-based Pladis, has plans to shut the factory with the loss of hundreds of jobs and a wider blow to the economy in the area.

There has been anger and widespread opposition to the closure among not only the workers but communities across the east of the city and politicians across parties.

READ MORE: McVitie's factory tax-funded rescue bid 'being considered' by ministers

It comes four years after the GMB Scotland union raised fears for its future and sought reassurances from managers over the factory which produces Hobnobs and Rich Tea biscuits, among other products.

The union raised worries Pladis was not committed long-term having been silent over the future of modernisation investment at the Tollcross site. Pladis had said it had invested more than £5m in the previous few years.

Generations of families have worked at the Glasgow biscuit works which first opened in 1925 as part of the Macfarlane and Lang's Victoria Biscuit Works.

The McVitie’s presence in Scotland goes back to the original Scottish biscuit maker, McVitie & Price Ltd, which was established in 1830 in Edinburgh.

Now unions say that the factory through its parent owners Pladis has refused to engage with the newly established Action Group set up to prevent the factory's closure.

The group is chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy, Kate Forbes MSP, and involves the trade unions, Glasgow City Council, Scottish Enterprise, Clyde Gateway and Skills Development Scotland.


The unions say that following two meetings of the Action Group, Kate Forbes, wrote to McVitie’s requesting direct engagement with the parent company, Pladis, ahead of the next scheduled meeting on 23 June.

The meeting is set to discuss a series of proposals which could maintain a presence of McVitie’s in the local area.

However, Unite Scotland and GMB Scotland say that the company has formally issued redundancy notices to its workforce and refused to engage with the Action Group.

Pat McIlvogue, Unite industrial officer, said: “It’s an absolute disgrace and slap in the face to the workforce that not only has McVitie’s formally issued redundancy notices but they are also refusing to engage with the Action Group established by the Scottish Government. Everyone except the company is working together in order to bring forward options, which could save hundreds of jobs in the local area. Unite is again calling on Pladis to directly engage with the trade unions, the workforce and the Scottish Government to look at credible alternatives to closure. Pladis has a duty of care to hundreds of workers to jointly discuss with us what could be done to save jobs instead of this belligerent and arrogant approach which they have adopted."

GMB Scotland organiser David Hume added: “It’s an act of extreme bad faith on the part of the Pladis Managing Director David Murray, and a gross insult to hundreds of workers and their families who are fighting for their livelihoods and community. The rules of the game have now been changed by Pladis – the clock is now officially ticking on 472 jobs and generations of food manufacturing that has endured austerity and prosperity, war and pandemic. David Murray needs to be hauled by the Cabinet Secretary before the members of the Action Group because this is a profitable business with an innovative workforce that can and should have a future in the East End of Glasgow."

Ms Forbes, who  co-chaired the second meeting of the Pladis Action Group said: “We have had another positive discussion with the Trade Unions, Scottish Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland and Clyde Gateway. The group has considered alternatives to site closure, and I have written to Pladis with an overview of our proposals. Everyone remains absolutely focused on the task ahead, and we will continue to pursue every opportunity to secure the future of the site.”

Leader of Glasgow City Council, Susan Aitken added: “Through our work alongside the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and the trades unions, Glasgow City Council is continuing in discussions with Pladis to look at all the options that can safeguard the jobs of the workers at the factory. Saving these jobs will benefit the workforce, the city-region’s economy and retain local skills, and once again I commit to using all the powers at our disposal to do exactly that.”

A spokesperson for Pladis said: "We can confirm that we have today issued the HR1 notice; a letter which is a part of the formal consultation process on our proposal to close our factory in Tollcross. ​

"In recent weeks we have been frequently engaging with our Trade Union representatives and the Action Group co-chaired by Cabinet Secretary Kate Forbes and Councillor Susan Aitken. We remain committed to meaningful consultation with our employees and their representatives."