Young’s Seafood to axe over 900 jobs

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Young’s plans to shed more than 900 jobs with the closure of its Fraserburgh and Spey Valley sites
Young’s plans to shed more than 900 jobs with the closure of its Fraserburgh and Spey Valley sites

Related tags: Salmon, Aquaculture, Grimsby

Young’s Seafood plans to axe more than 900 jobs with the closure of its Fraserburgh and Spey Valley sites in Scotland, after losing a key contract to supply Sainsbury.

The firm planned to launch a formal consultation with employees and their representatives “to explore proposals and possible options”​ for the facilities, which will be left significantly under-utilised by the lost business, it said.

Young’s intended to integrate the remaining customer contracts and volumes currently processed at its Fraserburgh and Spey Valley sites into its other manufacturing sites in Grimsby, Livingston and Annan, it revealed yesterday (July 9).

“If, following consultation, this proposal is implemented, it is likely to result in the future closure of the Young’s Fraserburgh and Spey Valley sites in, or after, November and the loss of more than 900 jobs”,​ said the firm.

Loss of more than 900 jobs

The proposal could also result in the transfer and or creation of about 200 jobs across Young’s Seafood’s sites in Grimsby, Livingston and Annan, it added.

Young’s Seafood chief executive Pete Ward said: “Today’s announcement does not reflect on the skilled teams at Young’s Fraserburgh and Spey Valley, who are committed, dedicated and continue to work hard through this time.

“This process will not be easy, but we have to face some tough decisions and we believe the proposals, outlined today​ [July 10], could deliver a significantly more sustainable manufacturing footprint than other potential consolidation options.”

Contract was worth about £100M/year 

The lost contract was worth about £100M/year, FoodManufacture.co.uk understood. The business had a total turnover of £600M/year and posted full-­year operating profit​ up by 24% to £25.2M in April.

Unite the union, which represents Young’s workers in Grimsby, but not Scotland, welcomed the decision to focus production at Grimsby, which will secure about 500 jobs, it said. But it described potential job losses north of the border as “devastating”. 

Over 900 job cuts

“If, following consultation, this proposal is implemented, it is likely to result in the future closure of the Young’s Fraserburgh and Spey Valley sites in, or after, November and the loss of more than 900 jobs.”

  • Young’s Seafood 

The union had feared up to 330 jobs could have been at risk​ at the Grimsby plant. Speaking last month Unite regional officer Dave Monaghan said: “This is extremely serious and very worrying news for the workforce at Marsden Road ​[Grimsby] and also for the local economy.”

Young’s Seafood operates three plants in Grimsby, employing a total of 2,000 workers.

A spokeswoman for Sainsbury said it had reviewed its Scottish salmon suppliers to ensure customers were offered the best products possible. “As a result of the supplier tender, we have given advance notice to Young’s Seafood that they will no longer pack and process salmon products for us,”​ she said.

“Marine Harvest, our Scottish farmed salmon supplier has acquired this business which will be carried out at its new factory in Rosyth, Scotland. However Young’s will continue to supply us with fish, including cod and haddock.”

Young’s Seafood is one of the UK's leading suppliers of chilled and frozen, branded and retailer branded, fish and seafood. It employs about 3,000 people at eight manufacturing sites in Grimsby, Fraserburgh, Livingston and Annan.

Read Unite the union's “bittersweet” reaction to job cut plan and what the Scottish government planned to do next here​.

Meanwhile, for the latest roles in food and drink manufacturing, read FoodManJobs​.

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