The Hall’s of Broxburn taskforce was set up after the company’s owner, Vion, announced on July 5 it was planning to close the plant because of unsustainable losses running at £79,000 per day.
Hall’s employs 1,150 permanent and 595 agency staff at the West Lothian site, and handles more than 8,000 pigs a week.
Swinney chaired the second meeting of the taskforce, which was set up to provide a coordinated private/public sector response aiming to safeguard jobs at the plant and to consider other food industry opportunities.
Improvements and savings
The taskforce is examining the company’s finances and Scottish Enterprise’s Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service has been identifying potential process improvements and savings.
Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International have been exploring options for the future of the plant and its businesses.
The taskforce is also conducting an economic impact assessment into the potential effects of any job losses, and is working to ensure the security of the pork supply chain.
Following the meeting, Swinney said: “I am encouraged by the progress the taskforce has made to date, but we are still at a very early stage in the process and it would be wrong to be complacent.”
Continuity and security
He said he would do everything in his power to deliver continuity and security for the people employed at the plant. He added: “The taskforce will continue to work tirelessly with unions and management to ensure we leave no stone unturned in our endeavours to deliver a positive result for the workforce and community.”
Rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead said: “This is clearly a challenging time for Scotland’s pig industry, but all the taskforce members are determined to work together to find solutions.
“We have moved swiftly to work with the company to ensure the security of the pork supply chain. As the announcement was made I met with NFU Scotland, Quality Meat Scotland and Scotland’s pig producers to discuss a way forward, and officials have held a series of intensive discussions with stakeholders since.
“Scotland is rightly famed for the high quality of its food and drink and Scottish pork is an important part of this. Our task now is to ensure that this continues to be the case and that’s what all those involved are working to achieve.”