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Cheese Company Construction Worker Walk-Out

OFFICIALS from McLelland Cheese company remained tight-lipped this week over a dispute which has led to a mass walk-out of construction workers on their Stranraer site.

With only days left on the job to complete the £13.5 million state of the art cold store and packing plant at Commerce Road, workers have downed tools until an agreement can be reached with the cheese merchants.

It is understood that the shade of blue on external panels on the cold store is at the heart of the dispute with the cheese company who want them replaced.

The main contractors, Wrekin Construction of Shropshire are holding firm and refusing to replace the massive panels. This week a spokesman for McLelland would only say that the contract workers remained off site and that the company was hopeful of reaching a settlement soon. She said:

"At the moment the dispute is in the hands of our lawyers and contractors are off site.

"We are very close to completing both the packing plant and the storing facility.

"We are keen to resolve this issue as soon as we can."

The spokesman would not confirm the nature of the dispute but said McLelland remain committed to using local firms.

More than 40 local workers have been on the site for the past 12 months. But nobody from the main contractors, Wrekin Construction of Shropshire, would make a comment.

One local worker this week told the Free Press they were only "days" away from completing their job on the cold store when they got the news.

The packing plant is already fully functional although there are just a few final alterations to be made to the structure. It houses 39 employees whilst the massive cold store, which is yet to begin operating, will employ five people.

The 3000 square metre packing plant was hailed as "the most advanced packing plant in the world" by McLelland financial director Joe Cairns when work on the site began last summer.

Together with the cold store the development is expected to increase production to 100 million packs of cheese a year at the Stranraer factory.

The £13.5 million project was part funded by the Scottish Executive's Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Department and the Environment and Rural Affairs Department.

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