Calls are being made to set up a taskforce to save 200 jobs at Falkirk’s Carron Phoenix plant which is earmarked to close next year.
Leader of Falkirk Council Councillor Craig Martin held meetings with unions and representatives from owner Franke this week to discuss ways of keeping the manufacturing jobs in the town.
I want a multi-agency taskforce set up with the council, the Scottish Government, the unions and the companyCraig Martin
Mr Martin said the council is exploring a “package” that could include investment from TIF (Tax increment financing) money – (public financing used as subsidies for redevelopment and infrastructure) as well as support to allow the site to relocate elsewhere in Falkirk.
The council leader said: “The meeting with the trade unions was very productive. This is a profit-making plant but an international company is deciding to relocate because it is cheaper for them to do that so we are trying to find a way to keep these skilled jobs in Falkirk.
“I want a multi-agency taskforce set up with the council, the Scottish Government, the unions and the company to find a way to make Franke reconsider relocating.
“We are currently discussing a package that could include TIF investment that would be favourable to the company. I believe the site is not ideal for Franke so if it means the company relocating here in Falkirk on another local site we can help with that.
“The Scottish Government did everything they could to keep the 270 steel jobs in Scotland and I think these Falkirk jobs are just as important.
“The company’s representatives we met with have assured us they will take our proposals to their board. I believe there hasn’t been a brick laid in Slovakia as yet and it could take six months for them get the planning permissions they need so we have that time to find a package that can keep these jobs here.”
Nicola Sturgeon gave the workforce a “personal commitment” last week the Scottish Government would fight to secure a future for the plant in Falkirk.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “This is a very difficult time for the workforce at Carron, their families and the wider community in Falkirk.
“The Scottish Government and its agencies continue to engage closely with the company, unions and the workforce to consider all possible options for the future.”