Livingston seafood factory to axe 50 in shock jobs blow

A CULL of about 50 jobs at Macrae seafood processing facility in Livingston comes exactly one month after collapsed technology firm Kaiam laid off 310 workers in the area on Christmas Eve.

Young's fish processing unit  in Livingston. Picture: JP
Young's fish processing unit in Livingston. Picture: JP

Bosses from Young’s Seafood, which owns Macrae Foods processing plant, said significant investment in new technology has led to a review of manpower at the Livingston plant.

Chief executive Bill Showalter said: “Over the past two years, Macrae has made significant investment in automation and process improvement at its Livingston facility to drive productivity and create capacity.

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“This investment has underpinned our competitiveness and, ultimately, contributes to the long-term security of the site.

“The delivery of these improvements in productivity now require the company to review its present manpower needs and the company is now proposing to restructure its shift patterns and reduce its headcount at the site by approximately 50 roles.”

Almond Valley MSP Angela Constance said the news was deeply disappointing and urged the Scottish Government to provide as much assistance as possible. She said: “The news that 50 jobs are at risk at the Macrae factory in Livingston, part of Young’s Seafood, is deeply disappointing and devastating for West Lothian so soon after the job losses at Kaiam and I have spoken to the company already.

“I have written to both the Cabinet Secretary for Food and Drink, Fergus Ewing, and to the Minister for Business, Jamie Hepburn, calling on them to urgently make direct contact with Macrae in Livingston to provide as much assistance as possible.”

The MP for Livingston, Hannah Bardell, added that she will do “whatever she can” to help employees.

Young’s announced in June last year that it would shut down Pinney’s seafood factory in Annan, Dumfries-shire, putting 450 jobs at risk.

It came 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

The Annan factory closed on August 31, with production moved from the Scottish site to Grimsby.

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Young’s Mr Showalter added: “We are proposing a move from the current two-shift structure to one shift and will now begin a consultation process with our employees.

“We remain committed to the long-term success of our Livingston site and this announcement does not in any way reflect on the hard work of our skilled teams who consistently deliver excellent service for our customers.”

Macrae Food Group, the Scottish shellfish-to-smoked-salmon group, opened the £10 million seafood-processing plant in Starlaw Industrial Park, Livingston, after reaching capacity at its Granton factory.