A MAJOR question mark hangs over the future of the Edinburgh Salmon Company (also known as ESCo) and with it the jobs of around 250 people after its parent owners announced that it was considering a sale or the possible closure of the business.
A press release from its owner Europeenne de la Mer, a subsidiary of the global seafood giant Thai Union, said the Dingwall-based business was suffering heavy losses as a result of highly challenging marketing conditions and market trends.
The site employs about 160 regular staff and between 80 and 100 agency workers and is one of the main employers in Dingwall, a town with a population of just 5,500. The news is also a serious blow to the Scottish seafood industry, especially after Young’s closed its Pinneys salmon site in Annan this month, with the loss of 450 jobs.
To compound matters, The Edinburgh Salmon Company, which produces smoked salmon, lost a large salmon supply contract last year to the sandwich and coffee chain Pret a Manger to Young’s of Grimsby.
A year ago Fish Update reported that the the company was blaming high salmon prices for heavy losses at the business, adding that it was unable to make up the deficit by passing them onto its customers. The latest accounts show that losses in 2017 amounted to £5.225-million, down from the 2016 figure of £6.86-million, but clearly unsustainable over term.
ESCo said it planned to explore all possible “divestment opportunities” in an attempt to avoid, reduce or mitigate the possible impact on its staff. The statement added: “Our employees at ESCo are our primary consideration. They were informed of the decision on Thursday morning. Irs customers were also being informed.
The statement added: “Following the announcement to our employees, we have started the process of appointing elected workplace representatives. If we are unable to find a viable alternative to the proposed closure we will then carry out individual consultations with at risk employees.”