After the announcement of plans to close meat factory Hall’s of Broxburn were made by Dutch parent firm Vion, desperate efforts were made to save it and the 1700 jobs the factory provides. Many households in the area have more than one member working at the plant so if the closure is to be confirmed Broxburn would be devastated and could be ruined.
Margo MacDonald, MSP for Independent Lothians, has compared the closure of the factory to a pit closure and local traders fear for their livelihoods. This would be the biggest disaster to happen to the workforce in Scotland in over a decade. A task force, made up of West Lothian Council, the Scottish Government, unions, factory owners, etc had a meeting only hours after the announcement yesterday.
John Swinney, the Finance Secretary, after the meeting is reported to have said that the taskforce would be focusing on maintaining the business at Hall’s of Broxburn. Mr Swinney said that he was entirely committed to the exercise. It is expected that the taskforce will study the financial projections of the company to enable them to secure a future for the plant.
The workforce are said to be in shock after the announcement, with many entire families employed there it is hard for them to see how they will survive. Hall’s was founded in 1932 and employs 1150 permanent staff, with 595 agency workers. The factory is famous for Wee Willie Winkies, black pudding, haggis and lorne sausages. The site claims to make the best-selling haggis in the world and is the largest processing facility for Scottish Pork.
Questions are being asked as to how the brand’s fortunes quickly plummeted, especially when the £1.5m Scottish Enterprise support was available to them, which was never drawn.