Meat jobs might yet be saved

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THERE was fresh hope for workers at the under-threat Hall’s of Broxburn meat processing factory this week after it emerged two potential buyers had expressed an interest in taking it over.

Last month owners Vion announced last month it planned to close the West Lothian plant with the loss of all 1700 jobs.

But it is understood Scottish Enterprise has told other members of the task force set up to save it that two companies had shown an interest in the factory, which makes a wide variety of products including sausages, haggis and black puddings.

It is not clear, however, whether the prospective buyers want to take over the site as a going concern or whether the potential offers would be for the whole operation or only part of it.

Vion said the plant was losing £79,000 a day and blamed the inefficient layout of the site for the troubles.

But after a meeting of the task force two weeks ago, finance secretary John Swinney said Scottish Government agencies Scottish Development International and Scottish Enterprise wanted to encourage “different players who could run this plant successfully”.

With such a large workforce, efforts are already under way to see how the plant could be made more efficient. A team from the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service is currently looking to see how 
productivity and efficiency levels could be improved.

Hall’s dates back to 1932 and it employs 1150 permanent and 595 agency staff.

It announced on July 5 it was beginning a 90-day consultation procedure with the workforce on the closure of the plant.