D-Day looms for threatened Halls of Broxburn factory

1,700 staff at Halls of Broxburn are anxious to known their fate. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
1,700 staff at Halls of Broxburn are anxious to known their fate. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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Bosses at the closure-threatened Halls of Broxburn will today be urged to set out where they stand during a crucial task-force meeting aimed at saving the food factory and its 1,700 jobs.

The West Lothian community, where the plant is based, was left reeling earlier this month when it emerged that Vion, the Dutch owner of the famous Scottish firm, is consulting on its shutdown.

The company said it is losing £79,000 a day and the plant is no longer viable. The news prompted finance secretary John Swinney to establish a task force aimed at avoiding closure. The group will hold its second meeting today.

Lawrence Wasson, of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers will be among those at today’s meeting. “There will be some more probing questions to the employer to see where they’re at and what they’re intending to do,” he said.

“Somewhere down the line we really need to ascertain from the employer what their preferred option is.”

He added: “The people on the plant will also have to look at what they can do keep the plant open. I think from the company, we’ve been getting a mixed message on occasion. They talk about the cost-saving measures to mitigate the losses they’ve been making, to make it more profitable.

“Then you get told, well the fundamental problem is the layout of the plant, because everything doesn’t run in a straight line and there’s heavy labour involved in ferrying stuff about.

“If it’s the worst-case scenario it will be devastating for the individuals, for the families and the local community.

“It’s too big a plant to mothball – we’ve really got to make sure we get some kind of solution to this.”