Shocking News has been announced that Young’s Seafood plan to begin consultation on the closure of their Pinneys of Scotland site at Annan, Dumfries and Galloway, one of the UK’s largest processors of Scottish salmon with the potential loss of 450 jobs.
South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy Colin Smyth said,
“This is absolutely devastating news for the Pinneys workforce and their families and my thoughts are with them. There are whole families employed at Pinneys which has served the town as a major employer for decades and this closure will be an utter tragedy for so many people in our area. A closure of this scale in such a small community will send shockwaves right across the whole, already fragile, local economy. It is also a massive blow to the Scottish food and drinks industry to lose such a long standing processor in Scotland. It’s just a few years since £3m was invested at the site and production from elsewhere was moved to Annan. It shows just how precarious the position was for Pinneys and the extent to which peoples very livelihoods are held at the whim of big business owners. The fact that the company plan to recruit 200 new jobs in the north of England while axing hundreds of jobs in Annan shows a real lack of loyalty to a workforce who have served the company for many years”.
“Given the enormous impact of this closure on the area, the Scottish and UK Governments need to go beyond simply putting in place the usual PACE* response. Annan has never fully recovered from the rundown of Chapelcross and now faces the double whammy of losing its only other big private employer”.
“I have written to the First Minister urging the Scottish Government to make available significant urgent additional investment for the new South of Scotland Enterprise Partnership to focus on the Annan area to support growth in existing businesses and to attract new ones to the area in the hope we can at least partly mitigate this loss”.
*PACE refers to:
Commenting, Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell said:
“This news has come as a complete shock to the workforce and the wider local community and it is impossible to convey the level of disappointment and sadness many will feel. Pinneys is an iconic part of Annan’s heritage and as the largest local employer it has a key role in supporting the wider local economy.
Most of all I am extremely angry at the course of action Young’s have chosen to take and believe there is far more they could have done to exhaust opportunities for the site. Instead these job losses have been been announced in what seems like a done deal and it is pretty galling to hear them talk about investing in centres of excellence elsewhere in the UK.
Since being contacted by the company directors this morning I have been in contact with the relevant agencies and Scottish Government ministers and I stand ready to do anything I can to support staff and the site moving forwards.
There appears to be a genuine recognition at all levels of Government of how serious this level of job loses is to the local community and there is a clear willingness to explore all available options. In the meantime my thoughts go to the workforce and their families and I would urge anyone with concerns to get in touch.”
South Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine said:
“This is absolutely devastating news for Annan and really is the last thing the town needs. I am shocked and angered by the complete lack of loyalty shown by Young’s Seafood to the local area, particularly given the fact that many of the local workforce have been employed on site for decades.
“This will be an incredibly difficult time for the many people who will be coming to terms with the news. I stand ready to help in any way I can, and I urge people affected to get in touch with me.
“I have already been in touch with Scottish Ministers asking what help they can offer. The new South Scotland Enterprise Partnership will play a key role in securing urgent additional investment in the Annan area in attempt to make up for such a huge loss.”
Annandale South Councillor Henry McLelland said:
“This is terrible news for the town. Pinneys is by far our biggest employer. At this moment my immediate thoughts are with the workforce who have to try and find a way to come to terms with and absorb this devastating news.
“Pinneys has been a prime employer in the town for many years and losing it will be a major blow to our local economy. More than ever we need to see speedy efforts; the parts the new South Scotland Enterprise Partnership and Borderlands Initiatives will play are enormous.
“It is particularly galling that Young’s Seafood make this closure announcement on the same day they have been awarded a major contract from Marks and Spencer.
“With a workforce of ten percent of Annan’s working population there is a desperate need for both the Scottish and UK Governments to find a solution in what is already a fragile local economy. In the last few weeks there have been job losses at Johnson Matthey. The Chapelcross site employs much less personnel now as it goes through the decommissioning process. The MOD at Eastriggs is moth-balled.
“It’s not that long ago a proposal to move the prawn processing to Thailand from Annan was thwarted. It is possible that Young’s Seafood could be persuaded to change their minds. I note Bill Showalter, the chief executive officer of Young’s Seafood, comments: “Today’s proposals to close our Young’s Pinneys site does not reflect on the committed and skilled teams at Young’s Pinneys – they are a credit to our company and if these proposals do go ahead we will work hard to maintain the employment of all colleagues throughout this transition.” We will hold them to that.”
Annandale South Labour Councillor and Chairman of Annan Regeneration Steering Group Sean Marshall said,
“The loss of potentially 450 local positions at Pinneys is a devastating blow for the people and economy of Annan and the surrounding area. But as the largest private employer in Dumfries and Galloway, it is also a huge blow to the whole region’s already weak economy. It is vital that Dumfries and Galloway Council along with both UK and Scottish Governments intervene and work together quickly and effectively to mitigate the loss of jobs and the effect this closure will have on the local economy. ”