A Scottish Government taskforce could be set up to help support hundreds of workers in Paisley after drinks giant Chivas announced plans to move operations from the town.
The spirits producer is investing £40 million in upgrading its bottling plant in Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, and relocating all 450 workers at its Paisley factory to the new expanded facility.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met Renfrewshire Council leader Mark Macmillan on Monday with further discussions to take place to “discuss the best way forward”, including the option of a taskforce, the Scottish Government said.
The £40 million investment has been welcomed but ministers are also “absolutely committed” to minimising the local impact in Paisley.
The move from Paisley to the Kilmalid plant in Dumbarton is scheduled to start in 2018 and by the end of 2019 all Chivas Brothers employees based in Paisley would move to the upgraded site, which already employs 600 people.
The Paisley plant, which has been a major employee in the town for decades, would then close.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The First Minister has confirmed that the Scottish Government will convene a roundtable discussion to discuss the best way forward, including the option of a taskforce.
“We remain absolutely committed to working with the company, the local authority and local partners to do what we can to minimise local impact and explore positive opportunities for the Paisley economy for the future.
“The recent news of £40 million of new investment in Chivas Bros Dumbarton plant is hugely welcome, demonstrating confidence in the Scottish drinks industry and will be a boost to the Scottish economy.”
Mr Macmillan said: “I was pleased to be able to personally discuss the issues regarding Chivas plans direct with the First Minister on her visit to Paisley today.
“The company has had a long-standing presence in Paisley and while it is hoped all employees will be offered roles in the relocation, we want to be prepared to support where we can to minimise the impact this move will undoubtedly have.
“I welcome the First Minister’s commitment to establishing a taskforce which will bring together all parties to work with the council to ensure we can get the best deal for the people of Paisley.”