2 Sisters Food Group (Cambuslang Factory)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 8th March 2018.

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Photo of Clare Haughey Clare Haughey Scottish National Party

2. To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on its engagement with the 2 Sisters Food Group regarding the company’s consultation on closing its factory in Cambuslang. (S5O-01845)

Photo of Paul Wheelhouse Paul Wheelhouse Scottish National Party

In the period since I responded to Clare Haughey’s question on 22 February, the Scottish Government has continued to engage with the company, exploring options to support the business and workforce. Scottish Enterprise is meeting 2 Sisters Food Group again this morning to progress those discussions. The meeting was arranged for 1 March, but had to be rearranged because of the impact of last week’s severe weather.

I understand that the partnership action for continuous employment meeting, which was due to take place on 5 March, was cancelled by the company. Our local PACE team is standing ready to discuss how best to support employees and is waiting to hear further from the company.

I want to reassure Clare Haughey and the workforce and wider community that we will do all that we can to save the site and mitigate the impact on the workforce and local economy. As communicated to Ms Haughey, I have written to the company to offer our assistance to retain activity in Cambuslang.

Photo of Clare Haughey Clare Haughey Scottish National Party

I thank the minister for his assistance with the matter thus far. As he recalled, I asked a question of him two weeks ago, and I have been working with relevant stakeholders to ensure the long-term viability of the site and to support the 450 jobs at the plant. 2 Sisters Food Group is a major source of employment in my constituency, with generations of the same family working on the site, so the effect of any closure would be devastating locally.

I am certain that my constituents and all those who are affected by the potential closure are reassured that the Scottish Government is doing all that it can to keep the factory open. Can the minister expand on the agencies that are involved in the process and list the range of activities that they have undertaken in their attempt to find a positive resolution for the workers and the wider community?

Photo of Paul Wheelhouse Paul Wheelhouse Scottish National Party

I thank Clare Haughey for her interest in this issue. I certainly appreciate her point about the severity of the potential impact on her local community if the company were to close its plant. Scottish Enterprise and PACE, which is a multi-agency partnership, are the key agencies. Scottish Enterprise is meeting the company again today, as I said, and PACE is in contact with the company. We are also working with the trade unions, and the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, Keith Brown, met the Unite union and a company union representative on 22 February to explore viable options to avoid the potential closure. We are committed to working with the unions and all other stakeholders to provide every support possible and to ensure a productive future for the 2 Sisters Food Group site and workforce in Cambuslang.

We are looking specifically at food processing, marketing and capital grants to help with the capital issues, as well as at training, research and development support, and support from the Scottish manufacturing advisory service and Skills Development Scotland. Those are all active areas in which we are trying to support retention of the factory. We have a good track record of working with the company to secure investment in its Coupar Angus site, which gives us confidence that we can work in partnership with the company.