PACE support helps bottling plant staff plan next steps following redundancy
Workers at a bottling plant in Cumnock have received support to take their next steps following redundancy.
Caledonian Bottlers ceased production in December 2022, with a handful of staff staying on until end of March 2023 to decommission the site. The company was established 25 years ago and bottled products such as Irn Bru and WKD. The company employed 48 people, all of whom were notified in September 2022 of the impending closure of the site.
Karen Mennie (pictured left in photo) was General Manager at Caledonian Bottlers and has been with the company for 13 years. She says: “We had been advised about PACE and the support that they could provide to staff being made redundant, and our head office based down south arranged for PACE to come on site to speak to staff.”
Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) is the Scottish Government’s initiative dedicated to helping employers and individuals dealing with redundancy. PACE is a partnership of 24 organisations including Skills Development Scotland (SDS), Department for Work and Pensions, local authorities and others who can provide free advice, information and support to people going through the redundancy process.
Karen continued: “Vincent Logue from SDS and others from PACE came to the site and delivered a presentation to management and staff. They were really accommodating, as our staff are shift workers, so the team came during the different shifts to make sure everyone got the opportunity to hear from them.”
Employees were then offered 1-2-1 support, which would provide them with tailored information and advice to support their situation.
Karen said: “The staff had time to speak to the PACE advisers about what was available to them, and more recently had someone in to speak to them about what training they’d be able to get support with to help them move into a new job. It was really useful.”
She added: “Redundancy is a time where there’s a rollercoaster of emotions and people deal with the redundancy process in different ways. There were people who had been here for a long time and were hurt that they were losing their jobs. PACE was been able to help alleviate a lot of worries for some of the staff.
“The support from PACE really benefitted the staff who were quite engaged with the PACE team. The majority of staff have new jobs, which is fantastic.”
The support from PACE really benefitted the staff who were quite engaged with the PACE team. The majority of staff have new jobs, which is fantastic.
General Manager, Caledonian Bottlers
Vincent Logue, Team Leader with Skills Development Scotland and local PACE Chair said: “It’s always a challenge for PACE to support an employer and their staff when a site is closing. It is great credit to Karen, the employee representatives’ group and all staff within Caledonian Bottlers that delivery was so successful.
Staff were receptive to our delivery options, the PACE team worked closely with everyone locally to tailor our services to meet the needs of all individuals who required support.”
Karen said: “I would 100% recommend other businesses to involve PACE to help staff through redundancy. The PACE team offered staff a variety of avenues to people by giving them information about things like pensions, how to make a claim for benefits, training etc, and advised on other job opportunities available in the area.”