Call for Young's Seafood to halt closure of Scottish plant
Holyrood’s business minister has called on Young’s Seafood to deliver on commitment to “do right by the people of Annan” and halt plans to move production from its Scottish site to Grimsby after identifying a possible investor.
In a letter, business minister Paul Wheelhouse told the firm it had a “moral obligation” to support the community that has served the business loyally over the past ten years.
He said a possible investor had come forward to put money into the operation and asked the company to consider any financial package which was being offered. He also requested that it put redundancies on hold until the possible cash injection had been discussed.
Young’s last week announced it would press ahead with proposals to shut down Pinney’s seafood factory in Annan, Dumfries and Galloway, putting 450 jobs at risk. The company’s natural salmon production would be moved to Grimsby in England.
Mr Wheelhouse wrote: “At least one credible investor has come forward and we are now in dialogue with them on the package of support that could be available from the public sector to help secure their investment.
“However, I understand the determining factor will ultimately be the commercial terms of the deal and I would hope that Young’s Seafood approach any discussions and negotiations in a fair and reasonable manner with the best interests of the workforce and wider community in mind.”
Mr Wheelhouse said that the closure would have “severe implications” for Annan and urged Young’s to step up to take tangible action to lessen the “bitter blow’” through efforts such as financial contributions to legacy projects if the closure goes ahead.
He added: “This decision comes in the wake of your most recent trading update which shows the group is now seeing a pattern of sales growth in both the frozen and chilled categories.”
A consultation had been under way with staff on the firm’s plans to move salmon production to Grimsby and close the Annan site towards the end of 2018, but the company said it had not been able to “agree any viable alternatives”.
The announcement of the consultation came in April, as Young’s landed three contracts with Marks & Spencer to provide chilled and frozen coated fish, natural salmon and white fish between 2018 to 2023.
A spokesperson for Young’s Seafood said: “We are considering the proposals in the letter in detail as part of our ongoing consultation process.”