Scottish Labour leader wants a workers’ right-to-buy option for threatened plants

Richard Leonard told the union leaders the measure would put power in the hands of employees facing redundancy

Workers facing redundancy at Scottish factories Pinneys and 2 Sisters should be offered the chance to buy out the companies to save their jobs, says Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard.

Mr Leonard, MSP for Central Scotland, told delegates from the Scottish TUC of his plans for a version of Italy’s Marcora Law, which allows redundant workers to use their unemployment benefit to buy their companies.

He made the remarks after Young’s Seafood announced plans to shut its Pinneys plant at Annan, Dumfries, and move production south, threatening 450 jobs.

And another 450 jobs are at stake at food manufacturer 2 Sisters, which is consulting on the closure of its plant at Cambuslang, Lanarkshire.

He said: “We need forward planning, economic planning and also environmental planning to tackle humanity’s greatest challenge – climate change.

“We need democracy in our economy, not just when things go wrong, but to help things go right in the first place.”

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard (Photo: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament)

He added: “We need to look afresh at who owns the Scottish economy and why we are so vulnerable to external shocks – and why so much wealth leaks out from our country.”

The Marcora Law, brought in by Italy’s trade and industry minister Giovanni Marcora in 1985, provides state backing for two funds to support co-­operatives, including one for new co­-ops set up by employees who have been laid off when companies close or downsize.

It has seen the creation of more than 250 worker-owned firms, saving more than 9,000 jobs.

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