It was announced earlier this year that the Chivas Regal bottling plant, part of the Pernod Ricard Plc. responsible for producing a number of well-known spirit brands, that the plant will shut in 2019, in a move which could have far reaching consequences for the small town.
One of the most important effects this move will have is on the availability and future prospects of employment in the town with the plant currently employing around 450 workers. Whilst Chivas Brothers has offered to transfer all the plant’s full-time workers to a new site in Dumbarton, there will no doubt be concern amongst the local community that jobs will become scarcer.
A pay deal recently offered by Chivas Brothers was not accepted by employees in Dumbarton, where they went on strike to try and secure a more favourable and, in their eyes, fair deal. This shows that there is growing discontentment amongst the workers and many at the Paisley plant will no doubt resent having to move location or change profession.
Another party which may be affected by the move is local businesses, which will be set to lose some of the key lunchtime and after work trade. Since the plant employs so many people, the shops and food businesses in the immediate area will no doubt thrive off the lunchtime custom they receive, and it may even be crucial to their existence.
Although Dumbarton is only 12 miles away, it is clear that Paisley’s local economy may suffer in the short term as it is disrupted by the move. This may well have some residents worried that their town will lose out on future investment opportunities and become stagnant as valuable workers move away.
With this in mind the prospect of Paisley becoming the 2012 City of Culture will no doubt become an ever more alluring prospect as the local council seeks to inject further investment and put itself on the map as a tourist destination in order to reinject money in to the economy that may potentially be lost by the plant’s closure.
Despite initial concerns, the closure of the plant could well pave the way for a new company to set up on the site, which would potentially create more jobs in the area and provide a helpful boost to the local economy.
This would not necessarily have to be an industrial endeavour, and it could be the case that new facilities and amenities, such as a cinema (a fitting replacement for the demolished Kilburn cinema), may provide some relief for any jobs lost. It will be a while before the site is utilised for something different, but it still provides an exciting opportunity nonetheless.
Given the current economic climate and the prospect of Brexit upon the horizon, Paisley is not unique in suffering potential job losses and displacement. Many of the major UK financial industries such as Forex, Banking, and Insurance Brokers are also considering the prospect of relocating abroad and the government is taking measures to combat this, but is worrying all the same.
The closure of the Chivas regal plant is undoubtedly a shock to the local community and economy. That being said, it is still two years away from being fully shut down, citizens and workers alike will be looking to the council to provide more opportunities further down the line.