Freshlink chiefs turn down offer to remain

BOSSES at a Glasgow meat factory which is about to close turned down the maximum financial assistance allowable from the government.

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Almost 150 workers will lose their jobs at the Freshlink factory. Picture: Colin Mea
Almost 150 workers will lose their jobs at the Freshlink factory. Picture: Colin Mea

Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing has told MSPs he will be speaking to management and workers to ensure help is in place for staff to find new jobs.

Workers were told last week Freshlink Foods, formerly McKellar Watt, would close early next year. The news came days after a task force of MPs, MSPs, Scottish Enterprise representatives, city councillors and the first minister met to try to save the jobs.

However, it has since been revealed that the company, which is moving production to Yorkshire, was not interested in any rescue bids.

Mr Ewing said: "The offer made to the company to stay in Scotland was at the maximum allowable level under regional selective assistance.

"The decision of the company was made in the course of last week.

"It is reasonable to say the company were fully aware of all elements of the package.

"Their argument was the perceived gap between remaining in Glasgow and switching to Yorkshire was too large."

Shettleston SNP MSP John Mason asked what support the Scottish Government would give to the staff who would be losing their jobs.

Mr Ewing said a Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (Pace) team would be on the site and he would be visiting this week.

Mr Mason said: "The company's decision has left us no option but to try to secure positive alternative futures for the 145 workers who are set to lose their jobs.

"I welcome the fact the Scottish Government has confirmed that a Pace team is drawing up a tailored package of skills development for workers and will offer every support.

"The information on when the factory will close has been totally inadequate, so the assurance that the enterprise minister will press for more answers is a positive one.

"It is difficult when anyone loses their job, but is made so much worse when workers face unnecessary uncertainty about when they will finish working there.

"After the way they have been treated, the workers at Freshlink deserve far, far better."

stewart.paterson@ heraldandtimes.co.uk

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