MSP Joan McAlpine has said she is encouraged by a very positive meeting with Business Minister Paul Wheelhouse about the future of Pinneys.
The meeting in Dumfries – which included council leadership, enterprise agencies and elected members – focussed squarely on saving jobs and retaining the production of natural salmon in Annan rather than letting it go to Grimbsy.
The Scottish Government are also looking for other contracts that could be fulfilled on the site.
The meeting comes on the back of this week’s shock proposal by Young’s Seafood to close the Pinneys plant in Annan – with 450 jobs put at risk.
The Business Minister said he would leave no stone unturned in his efforts to secure jobs in Annan.
Ms McAlpine also spoke by telephone to senior management at Young’s following the conclusion of talks with the Minister where she emphasised the need to keep jobs in Annan.
Commenting, Ms McAlpine said:
“The Business Minister has been working round the clock since the announcement by Young’s earlier this week.
“I am pleased he came Dumfries today and that we had such a constructive meeting – it is clear that all parties are focussed on saving as many jobs as possible.
“It was also reassuring that Seafood Scotland were in the room, and that an action group has been set up to work on this.
“The Scottish Government is looking to see what other contracts could possibly be fulfilled on the Pinneys site – even if the natural salmon production is retained, there will still be a lot of unoccupied space when the deli production stops.”
As well as Ms McAlpine and Mr Wheelhouse the meeting was attended by council leader Elaine Murray (Lab) and deputy leader Rob Davidson ( SNP) MSPs Emma Harper ( SNP) and Colin Smyth (Lab) local councillors Henry McLelland, (SNP) Sean Marshall (Lab) Archie Dryburgh (Lab) and Richard Brodie (Lib Dem).
Officials from the Scottish Government’s Food & Drink industry attended as did Council Chief Executive Gavin Stevenson.
A meeting was held with representatives of Scottish Enterprise and the new South of Scotland Development agency earlier in the day.
Earlier in the week Ms McAlpine wrote to the Young’s Chief Executive outlining ten questions she wanted answered.
Following the meeting, Ms McAlpine had a telephone call with Young’s Human Resources Director, Dominic Kerrigan.
Commenting after the call, she said:
“Mr Kerrigan assured me they were working constructively to find a solution that secures jobs.
“I am particularly pleased that they are looking at all workers who will be affected – including agency workers – and would make sure everyone was treated fairly.
“I made the point that the workforce in Annan had served the company loyally for years and they deserve to be treated with respect and fairness.
“I urged Mr Kerrigan to retain the natural salmon jobs in Annan and he confirmed that he was in talks with the Scottish Government about this but said there were a number of challenges that needed to be overcome.”