Scottish meat products industry in ‘crisis’: MPs

By Anne Bruce

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Scottish national party, Scotland, Scottish government

Margaret Curran pledged to fight to defend jobs at Freshlink Foods
Margaret Curran pledged to fight to defend jobs at Freshlink Foods
There is a “crisis in the Scottish meats products industry”, say MPs battling to save sausage factory  Freshlink Foods in Shettleston, Glasgow.

Margaret Curran, Labour Party MP, Drew Smith, member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) and local councillor Frank McAveety have called for a taskforce to be set up to save the frozen sausage plant.

Staff at Freshlink Foods in Shettleston, Glasgow, were told on June 22 that the company was in a 90-day consultation period about the future of the outlet. It could mean the plant is relocated but a spokesman said several options were being considered.

The factory employs about 200 people in an area of exceedingly high unemployment, including agency staff. More than 140 staff at the site have been issued with 90-day consultation notices.

Smith said: “I have, for the last week, been involved in meetings with management, trade unions and public sector agencies about the threat to a second Scottish meat products factory.

Scottish government

“It is clear that there is a crisis in the Scottish meat products industry. The Scottish government must make clear that this industry and these jobs are a priority.”

Labour MP for Glasgow East, Margaret Curran, said: “This is a profitable company with a loyal and efficient workforce. I will fight alongside the employees, unions and other elected members to do all we can to protect jobs in this area.”

Freshlink is part of meat company, ABP UK, which produces abound 500t of frozen sausages and formed meats a week for retailers around the country, including large supermarkets such as Tesco and Asda.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish government said: "Scottish Development International, Scottish Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland have been working closely with the company for the last 12 months to explore alternatives to closure and to help secure a long-term future for the company in Glasgow.

Alternatives to closure

"Scottish Enterprise and SDI met again with the company on July 10 to discuss the options available.”

The spokeswoman added that the Partnership Action for Continuing Employment team would provide help if needed.

Enterprise minister Fergus Ewing had also confirmed that he would be happy to meet with trade union representatives as soon as possible.

Also under threat is Vion UK’s Hall's of Broxburn meat processing plant in West Lothian. About 1,700-employees jobs are a risk and a 90-day consultation is underway.

The factory's owner, Dutch food company Vion, has said it has been losing £79,000 a day. It announced recently that it was set to close the plant due to "unsustainable losses and over-capacity in the UK meat industry".

For more about the 1,700 jobs at risk, click here​.

To read about the £20M profit prediction for sausage skin maker Devro, click here​.

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