WITH the first redundancies at Pinneys of Annan already underway, demands are growing for the Scottish government to produce immediate cash help for the 450 people who are to lose their jobs.
It is almost three months since Young’s Seafood announced it planned to close the site by the end of the year, moving fresh salmon production to Grimsby.
Last week, the Scottish Labour Party called on the government in Edinburgh to guarantee funds for the area.
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard, who recently visited the site, said: ‘It’s going to be a massive hammer blow to this local economy, and it simply needs a direct intervention by the Scottish government to put together an investment package to see how we can regenerate the local economy and create more jobs for the generation coming through.’
All sides now accept that there is almost no chance of saving the site, although Young’s will still maintain a presence in the town with an expanded scampi production facility.
Hopes of another seafood company moving into Pinneys have gone quiet. Nearby St James Smokehouse owner Brendan Maher said in April he was buying Pinneys, although he admitted it would not be viable to retain all the staff.
At the weekend, Annan councillor Sean Marshall supported calls for £250,000 of Holyrood cash to help open a base for business experts and officials from Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE).
He said: ‘It would be a one-stop shop for workers to get advice. The first tranche of redundancies has been taking place and I’ve heard 120 people have gone, most of them taking voluntary packages.
‘So there will be further losses coming and we need to set up this presence quickly. We are waiting on approval for the funding and it could come any day.’
PACE provides free advice on the practical and emotional aspects of redundancy. The organisation also help people recognise their skills, explore options and prepare for the next move.