CRISIS TALKS . . . members of the action group aiming to limit potential job losses at Pinneys after their first meeting at the Dumfries and Galloway Council Offices in Dumfries
And at their first meeting in Dumfries they expressed the ambitious hope that they might be able to salvage up to 200 jobs and stop them being moved south to Grimsby.
Scottish Enterprise Minister Paul Wheelhouse attended the crisis meeting late on Friday attended by councillors and members of both the UK and Scottish Parliaments.
Mr Wheelhouse has already spoken to Young’s — Dumfries and Galloway’s largest private sector employer — and is hoping for a face-to-face meeting with bosses along with members of the action group next week.
The possible loss of the long-established food factory has been described as ‘disastrous’ for the Dumfries and Galloway economy.
The Annan site will soon no longer have core deli and ready meals contracts and should the closure plans be agreed the fresh salmon side would be transferred under the announced proposals to Young’s in Grimsby with up to 200 extra jobs created there.
After the meeting Dumfries and Galloway Council Leader Dr Elaine Murray raised a glimmer of hope that they might be able to salvage something for the site.
She said: “Young’s have indicated that they might be amenable to not transferring the natural salmon work to Grimsby after giving up the contracts for the deli and ready meals. Unfortunately they are gone.
“There could the possibility that the natural salmon would not go down there and this is a conversation between the Scottish Government and Young’s as to whatever might be to make this happen.”
But she warned: “That would just be 200 of the jobs and a significant number of people would lose their jobs.”
However, the council leader disclosed: “There has been potential interest for the site from other processors who might wish to purchase the site if Young’s leave.
“It could be also possible to split the site for other processors to come on to use those parts being vacated.”
Mr Wheelhouse said: “Both the council and ourselves recognise what a significant blow this is to an economy the size of Annan.
“We know the majority of the workers are within a ten-mile radius of the plant and many have had long service and multiple members of families working in the factory.”
The action group listed their main objectives as:
* Persuading Young’s to retain natural salmon production in Annan instead of transferring to their plant in Grimsby
* Looking at attracting inward investment to the site
* Providing support for the workforce
* Mitigating the impact on the wider economy