Backlash against second Scottish plant closure

Local government is standing against the possible closure of a second Scottish meat plant almost one week after Vion announced it was closing its Broxburn plant.

Labour MP Margret Curran has this week asked Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond to find a buyer for the Freshlink plant in her constituency of East Glasgow. She has also demanded meetings with Freshlink management to discuss the closure.

Freshlinks announced last month that it was planning to close the plant following a 90 day consultation period. Nearly 145 jobs are at risk. Curran said that the closure would be a “hammer a blow” to the area. She said: “I will fight alongside employees and their local trade union officials to try and save this vital local employer.”

Staff at the plant are represented by the Glasgow Union of Shop Distribution and Allied Workers (USDAW). Organisor John Tonner, told Meatinfo.co.uk that the possible closure of the factory is down to the “amount of money they [Freshlink] need to spend on updates”.

The updates needed are said to cost millions of pounds and would bring the factory in line with a ban on hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) refrigeration gases, which the European Commission (EC) is banning from the end of 2014.

Tonner also said the company was looking at the possibility of sending the work from the Glasgow factory to other parts of the UK. He added: “We’ve asked what it will take to keep the site open and they say, ‘We don’t know’. The factory has the potential to close and it is likely it will, although it is not certain.”

He confirmed that meetings with Freshlink management have now been planned for this Saturday (14 July) and the next consultation will be next Friday (20 July).

A statement released by Freshlink Foods at the start of the 90-day consultation period on 22 June, said: “Freshlink Foods in Glasgow today commenced a minimum 90-day consultation period with its workforce regarding the possibility of a restructuring of its operations, which may impact on the future of the site, resulting in the potential of the relocation of its business. This option is one of several currently under construction.”

Freshlinks Foods is owned by Irish multimillionaire Larry Goodman. The Glasgow plant currently produces around 500 tonnes of frozen sausages and formed meat each week for national retailers, including Tesco and Asda.

Last week Vion announced the possible closure of another Scottish plant - its Hall’s of Broxburn plant in West Lothian, which could see the loss of 1,700 jobs.

>West Lothian councillors stand against Vion closure

>Possible closure of Scotland's primary pork plant

>Big changes at Vion following 'disappointing' results

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