WORKERS at the Greggs factory in Cambuslang fear massive job losses if the controversial ‘pasty tax’ is implemented next year.
The Reformer understands the bakery is expecting the introduction of VAT on hot foods such as sausage rolls and bridies will lead to a massive hit on Greggs products.
And that could filter through to the factory, which is one of the biggest employers in the town with over 360 workers.
According to one worker, some of the staff are unaware of the threat to their job, but predictions if the tax is made law could have a devastating affect.
The worker, who did not wish to be named, said: “If this is brought in then it will end with job losses within the bakery at Cambuslang as well as in the numerous shops in the area.
“You are talking about an additional 20 per cent on a sausage roll that costs 60p and that extra charge will fall on the customer. Sales will drop.
“Sales are already down in the current economic climate. Every penny is a prisoner right now and you can’t blame people for not wanting to pay the extra.
“We’ve been asked to sign a petition in the work and people seem happy to do that, but I think they just want to turn up and collect their wage.
“I don’t think they understand how perilous their situation is.”
Greggs started their Save Our Savoury campaign in the wake of chancellor George Osborne's plan to charge VAT on freshly baked goods.
No-one at Greggs was available for comment but just last week the company’s chairman Derek Netherton warned shares in Greggs had dropped by 13 per cent since the budget announcement in March.
He said the move would have a “disproportionate impact,” on the speciality bakery sector with savoury sales accounting for a third of Greggs turnover.
Job losses at the factory would be a major blow for Cambuslang.
And Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP, Tom Greatrex warned it wasn’t just Greggs who would be under threat.
He intends to present his own petition against the tax to Westminster in the next few weeks and he said: “I’ve been contacted by quite a number of constituents since I launched my own petition, including several from the Greggs factory.
“I’m aware of the number of people employed by Greggs but it isn’t just Greggs who are facing a problem.
“As well as the scale of the tax increase, it also seems to be unworkable because they will be basing VAT on the temperature of the food.
“There is actually an opportunity for the Government to think again. This could have a major impact on jobs in Cambuslang and across the country.”
However, A spokesperson for Usdaw, the union that represents around 250 workers at Greggs Cambuslang bakery said: “We’ve certainly had no indication from Greggs that the introduction of the so called ‘pasty tax’ would impact on jobs or terms and conditions at the Cambuslang bakery and we would be very surprised and concerned if they did.
“However, we do think the Tory-led coalition is wrong to try and introduce the tax, as it will hit people in the pocket and further dampen consumer demand at precisely the wrong time for both the High Street and economy as a whole.”