New hope for hundreds of jobs threatened at Young’s

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

New hope has emerged of saving some of the 900 jobs Young's wanted to axe in Scotland
New hope has emerged of saving some of the 900 jobs Young's wanted to axe in Scotland

Related tags: Scottish national party

Fresh hope of saving hundreds of jobs threatened at Young’s Seafood plant in Fraserburgh, Scotland, has emerged after a key meeting of stakeholders yesterday.

Young’s revealed plans earlier this month to axe more than 900 jobs, with the closure of its Fraserburgh and Spey Valley sites in Scotland, following the loss of a contract, estimated to be worth about £100M/year, to supply Sainsbury.

Revised plans focus on Young’s maintaining production on a reduced scale at Fraserburgh, with about 250 permanent staff, while seeking a buyer for its Grantown-on-Spey facility.

Scotland business minister Fergus Ewing, who chaired the crisis meeting, said the new plans were a significant development.

‘Downsized to around 250 permanent staff’

“I am pleased that Young’s is now exploring a revised option, which would see their Fraserburgh factory remain open, albeit downsized to around 250 permanent staff – around half the current number – with no redundancies before 2016,”​ said Ewing.

“Young’s have engaged closely with the Scottish government and public sector partners. They have demonstrated a willingness to listen and recognise the value of retaining many of their dedicated workers in Scotland.”

But, even if the plan was successful, many people would still face redundancy, he conceded.

Scottish Enterprise was working with Young’s to identify “possible resource and energy efficiency savings” ​to reduce operating costs and explore further marketing opportunities, he added.

The minister is visiting Young’s Grantown-on-Spey facility today (July 24) to meet staff and discuss the impact of the manufacturer’s plans.

Jobs rescue plan

“I am pleased that Young’s is now exploring a revised option, which would see their Fraserburgh factory remain open, albeit downsized to around 250 permanent staff – around half the current number – with no redundancies before 2016.”​ 

  • Fergus Ewing

Retain as many jobs as possible

Young’s Seafood ceo Peter Ward pledged the business to “constructive engagement”​ to explore all options to retain as many jobs as possible. “I would like to thank all of the stakeholders present for their commitment and also recognise the on-going commitment of the workforce in these difficult circumstances,” ​he said.

Food secretary Richard Lochhead underlined the contribution of Young’s jobs to the Scotland’s economy. “Young’s is an essential part of the Scottish food and drink industry, with workers who are skilled and dedicated and we’ll continue to work directly with the company and key partners to help in any way that we can,” ​he said.

Announcing plans to slash jobs in Scotland on July 10, Young’s said in a statement: “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​.”

Production would be shifted to Grimsby, securing about 500 jobs​ at the town’s previously threatened Marsden Road factory. Unite the union, which does not respresent workers in Scotland, described the announcements as “bittersweet”​.

Young’s Seafood stakeholder meeting

• Fergus Ewing, member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP), chair

• Richard Lochhead MSP

• Stewart Stevenson MSP

• Eilidh Whiteford MP

• Peter Ward, ceo, Young’s Seafood

• Representatives of Young’s, USDAW, Aberdeenshire Council, Scottish Enterprise, and Skills Development Scotland

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