Staff at a Fraserburgh fish processing factory could be facing redundancy after the firm lost a major supermarket contract.
Workers at the town’s Youngs Seafood factory on Harbour Road, were briefed by management on Tuesday after it was revealed that the firm had failed to retain its fresh salmon and smoked salmon processing contracts with Sainsbury’s.
The firm’s CEO, Pete Ward, confirmed the move in a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon.
He said: “We confirm that, following a tendering process, Young’s has not retained the fresh salmon and smoked salmon processing contracts with Sainsbury’s.
“Sainsbury’s wished to protect its Scottish salmon sourcing credentials and believed an alternative proposal could better achieve this objective.
“This alternative proposal also offered Sainsbury a dedicated facility.
“Sainsbury’s remains an important customer for Young’s and we will continue to work together in other categories to deliver great fish and seafood products to Sainsbury’s customers.
“It is presently anticipated that the salmon contracts will transfer from Young’s to Sainsbury’s new supplier from November 2015.
“We will be engaging with our employees and other stakeholders to discuss the implications for our business and how we can best position our company to achieve long term, sustainable growth in the current competitive market place.
“As we move forward, exploring a number of new business opportunities, our focus continues to be on serving our customers and consumers and on our commitment to providing high quality, good value, fish and seafood.”
A spokeswoman for the company said later that the statement was not an annoucement of a formal consultation process.
“Staff are being briefed today (Tuesday). Management teams will have a talk to employees and different stakeholders in the community about different options available to them.
“After that they will make an announcement.
“We know there will be redundancies - at the moment we just do not know how many or where from,” she said.
Commenting on the news, Banff and Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson, said: “I am aware that Young’s have lost out on a significant contract and that this may have an impact on their Fraserburgh centre of excellence.
“It has been stressed to me that no decision has yet been made on job losses, but I will continue to engage closely with senior management at Young’s and with my Scottish Government colleagues to ensure that everything is being done to protect jobs in Fraserburgh.”
Meanwhile, MP Eilidh Whiteford added:
“I have already spoken with both the chief executive of Young’s Seafood and with Scottish Government Ministers about what support can be provided to the Fraserburgh workforce in what will be an uncertain period. I will work with Stewart and my Scottish Government colleagues to maximise the retention of jobs at the Fraserburgh plant.”