Young’s Seafood jobs plan ‘bittersweet’ for workers

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Job cuts reaction
Job cuts reaction

Related tags: Salmon, Grimsby

Young’s Seafood’s plans to axe more than 900 jobs at its plants in Fraserburgh and Spey Valley, while safeguarding hundreds of jobs at its Grimsby site have been described as “devastating” and “bittersweet”.

Unite the union said plans to cut over 900 jobs in Scotland – revealed yesterday (July 9) – would devastate the local community. But it welcomed the focus on production at Grimsby, which it said would secure 500 jobs and the future of the town’s threatened Marsden Road factory.

“While workers in Grimsby were relieved at the news, there was a ‘bitter sweet’ edge to the announcement, which sees Young’s Fraserburgh and Spey Valley sites earmarked for closure after the loss of a vital Sainsbury’s contract,”​ said the Unite.

£100M/year contract

The jobs restructure followed Young’s loss of a key contract from Sainsbury. The UK’s third largest supermarket is to transfer its £100M/year smoked salmon and fresh salmon contracts away from Young’s to Marine Harvest this November.

Unite regional officer Dave Monaghan said: “The decision by Young’s to invest in Grimsby and secure over 500 jobs is welcome news and testament to the skills of the workers at the​ town’s Marsden Road site.

“Young’s is a major employer in Grimsby and workers, local businesses and the community will be relieved that the company will continue to invest in the town.

But there was “a bitter sweet edge to the announcement”, ​he added,because it sees uncertainty for workers at the Fraserburgh and Spey Valley sites, which are earmarked for closure. “We hope Young’s will do everything it can to minimise any job losses at sites threatened with closure.”

‘Sites threatened with closure’

The union view

“While workers in Grimsby were relieved at the news, there was a ‘bitter sweet’ edge to the announcement, which sees Young’s Fraserburgh and Spey Valley sites earmarked for closure after the loss of a vital Sainsbury’s contract.”​ 

  • Unite

The union represents members in Grimsby’s three Young’s Seafood factories which employ a total of 2,000 workers. The union has no members at the Fraserburgh and Spey Valley sites.

Scotland’s minister for business Fergus Ewing said: “This news will come as blow to the workers and communities concerned.”​ The Scottish government was working with the company and key partners including Scottish Enterprise and Aberdeenshire Council to help “in any way that we can”,​ he added.

The government had offered “immediate support to the company and community” and said it was  ensuring a fully co-ordinated response.

“If required, we will provide support through our initiative for responding to redundancy situations, Partnership Action for Continuing Employment,”​ said Ewing. “However, the workers at Fraserburgh and Spey Valley are skilled and dedicated and our priority is to secure the continued productive use of these sites.”

Unite questioned whether Marine Harvest had enough staff to fulfil its new contract obligations to Sainsbury. “Currently there are 600 people working on the contract at Young’s in the UK which normally increases in the run up to Christmas,” ​said Monaghan.

“With Marine Harvest saying they will recruit 350 people within a year there are question marks on whether they will have enough staff in the short-term to deliver the contract in November without having to ship work to their European factories.”

Read more about the Young’s 900 plus job cut plan here​.

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

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