Cambuslang chicken plant's 450 jobs 'at risk'

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2 Sisters logo
Image caption,
The Cambuslang plant has been operating for about 35 years

The owners of a chicken production plant near Glasgow have said it could close with up to 450 jobs at risk.

The 2 Sisters Group said the 55-year-old factory at Cambuslang "has significant challenges to meet the latest standards we require".

The company insisted it would look to redeploy staff to other sites if the summer closure plan goes head.

Another 450 jobs are believed to be under threat at 2 Sisters plants in Smethwick and Wolverhampton.

The company said it did not take the decision to consult over the closure of the Cambuslang plant lightly.

'Unsustainable losses'

A company spokesman said: "We are consulting with colleagues about a proposal to close our poultry processing site at Cambuslang.

"The loss-making facility at Westburn Farm Road is 55 years old and has significant challenges to meet the latest standards we require.

"We do not take this decision lightly and fully understand the impact if this proposal goes ahead.

"We will offer affected colleagues the opportunity to take up roles at our other sites in Scotland, which we will convert from agency to permanent roles. In addition, we will also seek redeployment of colleagues to our other sites offering roles to anyone willing to travel or relocate to another factory.

"We are committed to our operations in Scotland and will work hard to ensure all possible options for colleagues are fully explored before any final decisions are made."

The company said it would be creating up to 1,000 new jobs within the poultry supply chain across the UK.

Those would potentially be at plants in West Bromwich in the Midlands (400), Willand in Devon (300), Coupar Angus in Perth and Kinross (250), Llangefni in Anglesey (35) and Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire (30).

Unite said it was told by the company that there are serious problems with the fabric of the Cambuslang plant, ongoing unsustainable losses, and "an inability to meet future customer and consumer needs".

Food standards

Unite convenor at Cambuslang, Scot Walker, said: "Obviously we are dismayed at the news of the possible closure. But it is far too early to accept that this is the final word.

"Unite will do everything in negotiation with the company to find a way to safeguard the future of the site and protect the jobs.

"What's at stake are more than 450 jobs and the future of the local community."

Mr Walker added: "The company say there are problems with the ageing plant. That's hardly a surprise. I've worked there for 30 years and there hasn't been a brass farthing spent on the place in any real sense for decades.

"You might say it looks like those particular chickens are coming home to roost."

The House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee held a month-long inquiry into the food group's actions after an undercover report by the Guardian and ITV News claimed workers at its West Bromwich site were changing the slaughter dates to extend the shelf-life of meat.

In September, the Food Standards Agency and supermarkets Aldi, Lidl, Sainsbury's and Marks & Spencer also announced they would investigate the allegations.

2 Sisters is one of the UK's largest chicken suppliers but also provides biscuits, ready meals and frozen pizzas.

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