Vion could close Hall’s of Broxburn pork plant with loss of 1,700 jobs
The plant in Broxburn processes meat
5 July 2012 Last updated at 14:25
Dutch food company Vion has warned that it could be forced to close its West Lothian plant, with the loss of 1,700 jobs.
Bosses said the Hall’s of Broxburn site had continued to record “unsustainable losses” in spite of “major restructuring exercises”.
Staff have been told that a 90-day consultation will now take place.
Scotland’s Finance Secretary John Swinney will meet management later to discuss the future of the plant.
Vion’s UK chairman Peter Barr said it was an “extremely sad day” and one “we have strenuously tried to avoid for the past four years”.
He said: “Every possible step has been taken to secure the future of the business, but we are currently losing £79,000 per day at the site, which is clearly unsustainable.
“There is significant over-capacity in the UK meat industry and market conditions are extremely challenging.”
Vion said it had invested “heavily” in the site, brought in new management across the group and implemented restructuring measures over the past four years.
In just September last year, Vion announced it would create 250 jobs – including a modern apprenticeship scheme which attracted a Scottish government grant.
At the time First Minister Alex Salmond hailed it as “fantastic news”.
Vion Food Group purchased the Broxburn plant in August 2008 from Grampian Country Food Group, which had been in financial difficulties for several years.
It employs 1,150 permanent and 595 agency staff at the major processing facility for Scottish pork, handling 8,000 pigs each week.
Mr Barr said: “If the consultation exercise does not reveal a viable way forward for this plant, a proportion of the work from these facilities will be transferred to other Vion UK plants to strengthen their performance and help secure jobs.
“However, the market conditions are so severe that we will cease to supply the majority of products currently handled by this plant.
“We will make every endeavour to identify other Scottish producers who may be able to produce some of these products.
“If the plant closure is confirmed, we will take all practical steps to work with the relevant agencies to minimise the undoubtedly significant impact on jobs and local economies.
“Clearly, our Halls of Broxburn site is a major market for the Scottish pig farming industry and we would, therefore, hope to extend the time frame for any closure plan for the abattoir at the site in order to help minimise the potential impact on Scottish pig farmers.”