A Fraserburgh Task Force has been set up to produce an economic recovery plan to support workers and communities affected by Young’s Seafood decision to reduce its operations in the area.
Two weeks ago Young’s announced it was keeping its operation at both Fraserburgh and Spey Valley, but on a limited scale. About 250 jobs are being retained, but over 600 will go.
This follows the decision by Sainsbury’s to transfer a £100 million salmon processing contract away from Young’s to Marine Harvest. The majority of redundancies are likely to take place in early 2016. The company has agreed enhanced redundancy terms for those affected with employee representatives, including help with finding alternative work.
At its first meeting members of the Task Force agreed to work to secure alternative employment for affected workers and to continue to work with Young’s to find alternative markets and secure further efficiencies.
The Economic Recovery Plan will also consider how to create sustainable employment in the longer term to mitigate the impact on Fraserburgh and surrounding communities.
The Fraserburgh Task Force includes representatives of Young’s, USDAW, Scottish Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, Aberdeenshire Council, local elected representatives and industry bodies.
Business Minister Fergus Ewing, who chaired the meeting, said: “Young’s Seafood has taken its decision and we are doing everything possible to support the workers and mitigate the impact on the town and the wider area.
“We are helping affected employees through our initiative for responding to redundancy situations, Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE). Through providing skills development and employability support, PACE will aim to minimise the time individuals affected by redundancy are out of work.
“Since Young’s first announced its plans, there has also been a significant amount of work led by Scottish Enterprise to help the company find efficiencies and explore new markets, which could lead to reduced costs and new contracts, aiding the future viability of the factory.
“The Task Force will also consider how to support longer term sustainable employment in the wider area. This work will take a number of months and all members of the Task Force agreed today to collaborate closely to deliver an Economic Recovery Plan that meets the needs and aspirations of the workers, the people of Fraserburgh and surrounding communities.”
Dominic Kerrigan, Board Director of Young’s Seafood, said: “Following extensive review and engagement with all interested stakeholders, we confirmed last week the decision to keep open our Fraserburgh Watermill Road and Grantown-on-Spey facilities. This followed the decision by a major customer to transfer some of their business to a Rosyth-based supplier.
“Today’s meeting was constructive and we are committed to working with the Scottish Government, and all other stakeholders on the Taskforce, to deliver the best possible support for our employees and the local community.”
Co-leader of Aberdeenshire Council, Richard Thomson, said: “We are pleased a meeting of the Taskforce could be convened so quickly after reduced operations were announced, which although better than complete closure will still have a significant negative impact on the local community.
“We are committed to working with our partners for the benefit of those affected by this decision to help them find alternative employment and minimise the effect on the area as a whole.
“We particularly welcome the fact that the Taskforce will focus on the whole town, seek to make the most of regeneration work which is ongoing and increase the overall economic resilience of the area, to minimise the impact individual business decisions can have in future.”