Support in place for Halls of Broxburn staff

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Support teams from the Scottish Government and its agencies are working round the clock for the welfare of people employed at the Halls of Broxburn plant, Finance Secretary John Swinney confirmed today at the sixth taskforce meeting.

Representatives of the Scottish Government’s Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) initiative have delivered more than 90 presentations to staff on site, sometimes at midnight to fit in with shift patterns. PACE teams have been on site at the plant five days a week since 24 August.

Onsite and offsite resource centres are offering one to one support to employees. PACE Guides have been translated into Polish and Romanian, and a Polish-speaking advisor is available to support staff.

A jobs fair has been organised for staff, and local and national employers who have expressed an interest in recruiting VION employees will be invited.

More than 50 employers have expressed an interest in offering job opportunities to employees at the plant, and it is hoped that a number of posts could be potentially be filled through matching transferable skills.

Working with the Department for Work and Pensions, PACE has arranged for CV support for Halls of Broxburn employees.

Skills Development Scotland staff are working with three local colleges to develop ways to further support workers who need it.

The Scottish Government-led Halls of Broxburn Taskforce, established in July when plans for closure of the meat processing plant were first announced and comprising West Lothian Council, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Development International, Skills Development Scotland, trades unions, the company and local elected representatives, has been working to secure a viable future for the plant.

That process involved putting a strong and creative investment proposition backed by the public sector to Vion that could have secured a future for the plant. It also resulted in two bids presented to the company, which earlier this month Hall’s parent company Vion informed staff it was unable to accept.

Speaking after the sixth meeting of the Taskforce, Mr Swinney said:

“The Scottish Government and its agencies are working to secure the welfare of people employed at Halls of Broxburn.

“We have teams on site delivering training, supporting people as they write CVs, and helping them find suitable jobs.

“We have identified a number of potential employers interested in taking on Hall’s staff, and we will be working to match staff with available jobs.

“We have arranged translation services through Skills Development Scotland and the Department of Work and Pensions so that people are able to access support in the language in which they are most comfortable. This is also a sign of the Scottish and UK Governments working together for the future of those working at the plant.

“The Halls of Broxburn taskforce will meet again, and will implement a recovery plan for West Lothian – but our priority at the moment is finding work for as many of the people employed at the plant as possible.

“Separately, we are developing a strategy for the pig industry in Scotland, working with the sector to enhance pig processing and production.”