Lawrence Wason, USDAW divisional officer, confirmed that he knew of two expressions of interest in the Broxburn plant but said he had “no idea” what stage negotiations had reached.
Wason told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “I am hopeful we [the task-force formed to secure the factory’s future] can turn this around and keep the plant online. We are trying to be optimistic but it is a very challenging situation.
"Since many family members work at the plant, closure would be devastating for the local community and the economy."
The union’s comments followed a report in the Edinburgh Evening News that two potential buyers had expressed interest in acquiring the plant. It reported that Scottish Enterprise had told other members of the task-force that two firms had expressed an interest in acquiring the factory.
A spokeswoman for the Scottish government refused to confirm or deny the “second-hand” reports. She added: "The Halls of Broxburn taskforce has made encouraging progress to date, but we are still at a very early stage in the process and this is no time for complacency.
"The Scottish government and its agencies will continue to do everything in their power to deliver continuity and security for the people employed at the plant.This is a particularly worrying time for all those who work at Halls of Broxburn and their families.”
She said the taskforce was dedicated to working with unions and management to ensure “a positive result for the workforce and community”. That will include “seeking potential buyers, as well as considering all options for the future of the plant".
Loss of 1,700 jobs
The Scottish government set up a task-force in June after owner Vion UK announced a 90-day consultation on plans to close the Hall’s plant with the loss of 1,700 jobs.
Hall’s makes a wide range of products including sausages, haggis and black puddings.
The task-force – which included: USDAW, West Lothian Council, the MP and MSP for the area, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Development International, Skills Development Scotland, Job Centre Plus and Quality Meat Scotland – was due to hold its third meeting on August 22.
To read the comments of Scottish government finance secretary John Swinney, after the first meeting of the task force, click here.