Answers Demanded On Paper Plant Closure

30 April 2015, 18:33

A union representing workers made redundant when a paper-making firm went into administration at the start of the week are demanding answers on the speed of the closure.

A total of 325 employees lost their jobs when Tullis Russell Papermakers, based at Markinch, Fife, called in administrators earlier this week with a further 149 positions at risk.

Many of the workers met union leaders today to discuss the situation. It comes as the Scottish Government and Fife Council held a taskforce meeting to mitigate the impact of the decision.

Workers said they were recently told their jobs were safe at the plant.

Unite regional officer Dougie Maguire said: "Let's be clear that Tullis Russell directors have serious questions to answer about how this company was so suddenly plunged into administration and the workers want answers.

"This is a heart-breaking situation where the workforce have turned out in their hundreds, shocked, and victims of a hopeless employment law system and a group of directors who didn't give a second thought to throwing them on the dole.

"Today was also about ensuring our members get the best legal advice possible in the wake of this shock announcement, but it's small crumbs of comfort because people want to be working, not dealing with this situation.

"Our immediate priority now is our involvement on the Scottish Government taskforce and if there is any possibility that we can save these jobs - we will explore every option.''

Deputy First Minister John Swinney chaired a meeting of politicians, public and private bodies and workforce representatives today.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, he said: "My first thoughts on hearing this news were, of course, with the employees, their families and the local community affected by this decision.

"What's important now is that we act quickly, bringing together all interested parties, to map out a plan for the local economy and help workers to find employment as soon as possible.

"I want to be very clear - this Government is committed to doing all it can to support the company, the workforce and the local community at this challenging time.

"We will leave no stone unturned and that is why we are focusing all efforts, including those of Fife Council, on identifying a buyer, securing a future for the Glenrothes site and supporting employees.

"Earlier this week I announced an initial £6 million of financial support for the taskforce to be used to help fund retraining for the workforce at the Markinch plant.

"Yesterday, business minister Fergus Ewing was in Fife and announced a PACE event for employees to take place next week involving a mix of around 20 support agencies, training providers and employers who are interested in recruiting.''