Battling biscuit closure

Submitted by AWL on 18 May, 2021 - 6:16
McVitie's, Glasgow

Members of the GMB union will be demonstrating outside of the McVitie’s factory in Glasgow on Saturday 22 May (from 10am, at Tollcross Park: Facebook event here) in protest at an announcement that it is to close.

The factory has a workforce of nearly 500, with union membership split 3:1 between the GMB and Unite.

Although the protest was initiated by the GMB, Unite members will also be supporting it.

McVitie’s is owned by the Pladis company, which is part of the Turkish investment firm Yildiz Holdings. According to Pladis, it needs to close the plant and shift all production to English plants because of “excess capacity”.

But McVitie’s and Pladis, which owns a number of other biscuit companies, enjoyed a boom in their business during the lockdown.

Working at home, or being furloughed at home, boosted demand for biscuits

And even before the lockdown Pladis was notching up increased profits. Its most recent accounts (2019) show a revenue of over £2 billion, an operating profit of £154 million, and an increased share of the UK biscuit market.

Throughout the lockdown McVitie’s workers were classed as key workers and maintained production, and profits, to meet increased demand. Now the workforce is no longer “key”, but supposedly surplus to requirements.

The bulk of the workforce lives in the East End of Glasgow, where the factory is based. The East End already includes areas with some of the highest levels of social deprivation in Scotland.

The 22 May protest should be not a one-off but the start of an ongoing GMB-Unite campaign which also reaches out to local communities to force Pladis to back down

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