ICELANDIC Seachill has said the number of jobs to go in Grimsby following the loss of a £50 million Marks & Spencer contract is lower than expected.
The new figure is 86 compared with the 175 mentioned a couple of months ago. And the new figure could be even lower.
The coated fish part of the contract has gone to Grimsby rivals Five Star Fish, while the remainder is being shared by two out-of-town processors.
At first it was thought that Icelandic Seachill might have to cut a large number of jobs, but thanks to some flexible rearranging and possible new business that figure has been halved.
Also, Five Star Fish is expected to need to take on at least 70 people to meet its new contract commitments and is likely to recruit some of those leaving Icelandic.
Icelandic Seachill also produces the award winning Saucy Fish brand, which is not affected and is now being exported to several countries. And it has a large wet fish operation supplying UK supermarkets.
The company said in a statement: ‘Following M&S’s decision to transfer all their business with Icelandic Seachill to an alternative supplier, in June of this year we announced a proposal to close the existing Icelandic Seachill deli site and transfer production into our coated site.
‘We entered into collective consultations with Unite the union and elected representatives of our monthly paid employees. This milestone has now been reached and the consultations have now broadly concluded.
‘Today, we can confirm that the deli site location is expected to close at the end of March 2017 and remaining products will be relocated to the coated site location.
‘Although any job losses are regrettable, we can report that the final number of redundancies will be significantly lower than originally envisaged, falling from 175 to 86.
‘There is a possibility of this figure reducing further as employees take opportunities at our chilled site. However, this will have an impact on the number of agency staff employed.
‘While the collective consultations have concluded, individual consultations are ongoing until the end of August and outcomes of the selection process are being communicated to individuals directly.
‘We appreciate this is a difficult and sensitive time for our employees, and our priority as a business is to support those affected by M&S’s decision.
‘Icelandic Seachill remain in good shape with strong and continuing partnerships with our other valued customers.’