AXED workers from the Hall’s of Broxburn meat processing plant have been told they are not guaranteed new jobs despite the company being taken over.
Dumfries and Galloway-based Browns Food Group has bought Hall’s from Dutch firm Vion, effectively merging two of Scotland’s oldest food businesses, both known for producing sausages and haggis.
But the deal does not include the Broxburn plant – which is due to be shut down next month – and its staff.
Browns, established in 1885, already has its own facilities in North Berwick and Prestwick in Ayrshire, with the deal with Hall’s only seeing it take over branding, recipes and sales.
Around 50 employees from those departments will be transferred to Browns, but bosses said they could not give priority to the 1700 axed workers if jobs came up in the future.
Finance director Alan Hill said: “We have been working closely with Vion and Hall’s of Broxburn employees during this process and have found them to be very helpful.
“If jobs are created in future we would not rule out the possibility of employing people previously made redundant by the closure, but we will not give anyone priority. Our priority is to find the right skills for the job, and all applicants will be subject to the same consideration.”
Union and council leaders welcomed the news that Hall’s had been taken over, which they said gave them hope for the axed workers.
Lawrence Wason, divisional officer at union USDAW, said: “Obviously we are delighted for the employees who have retained their jobs, however 50 workers out of 1700 pales into insignificance.
“We are pleased that the brand has survived along with some jobs and we hope that this can be built on in future.”
West Lothian Council leader John McGinty said: “Clearly we welcome the news that the Hall’s brand will stay in Scotland and we remain hopeful that some of the jobs will remain in the West Lothian area.”
Several attempts to save the meat-processing factory failed after Vion announced closure plans in July.
Even a rescue bid led by the Scottish Government couldn’t force the owners into a U-turn, but earlier this month Vion said “careful consideration” was being given to donating the plant to help with the regeneration of West Lothian’s economy.
A spokesman for Vion Food Group said: “Following their acquisition of the Hall’s brand, we would like to wish Browns Food Group every success with their plans for the business.”
RESCUE PLAN FOR REGION
A MAJOR £29 million rescue plan for West Lothian was announced in December, just months after Hall’s of Broxburn revealed it was to close.
The blueprint for recovery included the creation of thousands of jobs in the wake of the 1700 roles axed by the meat processing company.
The funding included £16.6m from economic development body Scottish Enterprise and a Scottish Government commitment of up to £12m.
It will be spent on training and economic recovery initiatives with a target of creating 3000 jobs over a five-year period.
Last week, it was revealed that a chunk of the cash would be spent building a new food and drink research hub and to speed up work on a junction on the M9.