AN MSP has claimed that eastern European factories may be processing some salmon for Sainsbury’s because the supermarket’s new contractor has so far failed to deliver.
Lewis Macdonald, the Labour member for North East Scotland, raised the issue with Scottish Deputy First Minister John Swinney in the Scottish parliament yesterday.
‘The cabinet secretary will be aware of reports that some of Sainsbury’s Scottish salmon is now being processed in Poland or in other countries because the company that won the Scottish salmon supply contract has failed to deliver,’ he said.
‘Will ministers look into those reports and meet Sainsbury’s as a matter of urgency? Will they stand up for the hundreds of workers in the north-east who are facing redundancy early in the new year, and press Sainsbury’s to give those workers hope for the future instead of exporting their jobs.’
Young’s lost the Sainsbury’s contract, said to be worth around £100 million a year, to Marine Harvest in the summer and about 600 workers at Fraserburgh and Spey valley in Scotland are due to lose their jobs early next year as a result of the switch.
Marine Harvest has expanded its processing plant at Rosyth in Fife and increased its workforce to meet the contract to supply smoked salmon to the supermarket.
Andy Stapley, managing director of Marine Harvest Consumer Products, said: ‘Our salmon processing plant at Rosyth has been operating for a year now and we are well equipped to handle the contract from Sainsbury’s which we won earlier in the year.
‘We’ve increased our workforce and now employ more than 500 people producing 70,000 packs of Scottish salmon each day.’
Macdonald also asked the Deputy First Minister how many jobs had been lost at Young’s and how many remained at risk.
‘When Young’s Seafood commenced the consultation process regarding its site in Fraserburgh in July 2015, the company employed 580 people,’ said Swinney.
‘At the end of October, the company employed 534 people. The reduction of 46 was fully attributable to resignations. Since the end of October, 15 employees have been issued with notices of redundancy and have left the business in November.
‘The company has informed its joint consultative group that it expects to issue 152 employees with notices of redundancy in January and, based on present employee numbers, to issue a further 130 employees with notices in May. That would leave the company with 238 employees post May 2016. The final numbers will depend on transition decisions and customer demand.
‘In July, Stafforce Recruitment, the temporary labour agency, had 377 agency placements with the company, which reduced to 210 by the end of October 2015.’