A works council at Fishers laundry in Perth met with management on Monday morning for crunch talks over the future of more than 80 of their colleagues’ jobs.
Last week, the laundry giant announced plans to make redundant 84 members of staff at the Ruthvenfield Avenue plant.
Management of the Cupar-based firm say the impact of coronavirus and losing a key contract with Premier Inn operators Whitbread have cornered them into beginning the job-cutting process.
Two employees, representing the factory’s internal workers and lorry drivers sat down with the firm’s managing director, the Inveralmond plant’s general manager and a local politician on Monday morning as the consultation period got underway.
Proposals such as reducing or merging staff contracts, rather than simply axing jobs, were suggested to the laundry business’s management by the work’s council representatives.
More than 20 employees gathered outside the factory to show their solidarity as talks went on.
One representative said: “We put forward cut hours and job shares, and said ‘let’s try this’.”
“By Friday, we might have a little more clarity,” said the other.
More meetings are understood to be scheduled for the end of this week.
A Fishers spokesperson said: “The coronavirus crisis is having a devastating impact on the hospitality and tourism sector and will do so for some time to come. Fishers is heavily impacted and, due to its location, our Perth laundry is particularly exposed to this.
“We are consulting as widely as possible and we are leaving no stone unturned as we search for an alternative solution to closure.
“We have had a fruitful and constructive meeting with staff representatives today and we are grateful to them for the creative ideas they have put forward.
“However, we need to reduce our costs to match our expected revenues and currently closure remains one of the options we must consider.”
City centre councillor Andrew Parrott, attending on behalf of MP Pete Wishart said he was particularly impressed by the level of sacrifice staff were prepared to make in order to retain their jobs, however feared it may not be enough.
He said: “I am impressed by the degree to which the workforce is prepared to make changes and sacrifices, but I think it may be simply beyond the reach of the sacrifices.
“We want to do all that we can to retain and grow employment. There is dialogue between Fishers and the Scottish Government and they will be meeting later this week to discuss options going forward.”