1700 jobs, over one thousand permanent, are under threat after an announcement from Dutch food company Vion that it could be forced to close its West Lothian plant.
The company have announced a 90 day consultation after it emerged the factory was making losses of nearly £79,000 per day, a company spokesman blamed over-capacity in the UK meat industry.
On being notified of the news, Scotland’s Finance Secretary John Swinney immediately convened a taskforce, which has already met, to deal with the potential redundancies.
Mr Swinney said: “The taskforce agreed that its key focus is maintaining continuity of business at Hall’s of Broxburn and we are entirely committed to that exercise.
“We have drawn together all of the relevant government agencies, local agencies and political representatives to focus on ensuring we deliver a positive economic future for the workforce and community of Broxburn.
“The taskforce has had a positive start and will take forward a number of practical actions before re-convening on July 30.”
Fiona Hyslop MSP for the Linlithgow Constituency called the announcement a “devastating blow for workers and their families in West Lothian.”.
Ms Hyslop added:
“Vion Halls is the biggest private employer in this constituency and there are many experienced workers with expertise in food production in the company and we must make every effort to try and secure a positive outcome.”
The MSP, who also attended the taskforce meeting, continued:
“I call on everyone concerned; management, unions, the workforce, enterprise agencies, Government and Local Council to pull together to tackle the enormous challenge facing West Lothian.
“The Halls site has been under threat on a number of occasions over recent years before Vion Halls took it over in 2008.
“Vion appears to have been unable to resolve this situation due to internal changes within its company and increased demands in production at the Broxburn site, resulting in substantial losses which has led to this situation. The workforce, however should not have to pay the price.
“We must all pull together for the good of the workforce to support the West Lothian economy and as the local constituency MSP I will do everything I can to assist.”
Workers representatives spoke of entire families employed at the factory with many having been there for years.