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McVitie’s Tollcross Joint Trade Union Media Release

Thursday, June 17, 2021

McVitie’s issues redundancy notices as company ‘disgracefully’ refuses to engage with Action Group

Trade unions GMB Scotland and Unite Scotland, who jointly represent the vast majority of McVitie’s workers based at Tollcross, have reacted furiously to the company formally issuing redundancy notices today (Thursday 17 June). 

The McVitie’s biscuit factory, which manufactures a range of notable products including Hobnobs and Rich Tea Biscuits, has through its parent owners Pladis also ‘disgracefully’ 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.

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 can confirm that the company has formally issued redundancy notices to its workforce and refused to engage with the Action Group.

In 2014, the Turkish owned Pladis acquired the McVitie’s business after its takeover of United Biscuits, which made it the third largest biscuit manufacturer in the world. In that same year, United Biscuits also cut its then 680-strong workforce at Tollcross by almost a quarter. The Tollcross factory, which first opened in 1925 as part of the Macfarlane and Lang's Victoria Biscuit Works, is a major employer in an area with higher levels of social deprivation and unemployment. The McVitie’s presence in Scotland goes back to the original Scottish biscuit maker, McVitie & Price Ltd, which was established in 1830 in Edinburgh. 

 GMB Scotland Organiser David Hume said: 

“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 nearly 470 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."

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 have 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."


Contact: GMB Scotland David Hume on 07931 796733 or Unite industrial office Pat McIlvogue on 07918 631805.