Grimsby lands double boost for jobs in seafood industry
GRIMSBY was delivered a boost today with superbrand Young's Seafood poised to bring further jobs to the town and supermarket giant Morrisons granted planning permission for its multi-million-pound seafood plant.
The news comes just days after plans were unveiled for a seafood processing business and 100 jobs at the vacant Mariner Foods factory.
The Young's development would, however, come at a cost to other areas of the country.
Consultations into the future of its sites in Seaham and Whitehaven, acquired when the stricken rival Cumbrian Seafoods was bought out, ended yesterday, with Young's stating the "most sustainable option for the long term" was to close the plants. It will result in 380 job losses.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
The fish-processing giant regards the three substantial Grimsby business units as the principal factories in its ownership, and fishcake production has already been brought to town after problems were discovered at a plant in Amble.
It all stems from the equity giant behind Young's, Lion Capital, swooping for selected assets of Cumbrian in December, as the administrators moved in. A subsequent review involving senior management from Ross House was carried out before the formal consultation with Cumbrian staff launched in January.
Bosses remained tight-lipped about exactly where the work will go as the announcements were made, with a focus on helping those dealt a bitter blow in Cumbria and Northumberland, but it looks likely to be a positive outcome for Grimsby.
In particular, Grimsby may have won over a four-year-old "world-class" plant in Seaham, to where it was initially feared lines, and jobs, could be moved out of North East Lincolnshire.
Pete Ward, chief operating officer at Young's Seafood, said in a statement: "Following formal consultations at the former Cumbrian Seafoods sites in Seaham and Whitehaven, we are announcing that volume from these sites will be transferred into Young's Seafood Ltd's existing facilities because this has been identified as the most sustainable option for the long-term.
"Factors considered, as part of the consultation process, included cost, financial sustainability, quality and technical standards, and manufacturing capabilities of the sites.
"Unfortunately the phased transfer of volume is likely to result in the closure of the Seaham and Whitehaven sites with the loss of up to 281 jobs in Seaham and 99 jobs in Whitehaven, in the next month.
"We will confirm exactly how the volume will be distributed among Young's Seafood Ltd sites in the coming days with the aim of achieving the most robust and sustainable manufacturing operating model for the long-term."
Employing about 1,700 people in Grimsby, Young's not only splits its headquarters between the town and London, but also considers Grimsby the manufacturing and new product development centre of excellence, describing it as "the spiritual home of Young's" on its website. Other sites are in Scotland.
Councillor Chris Shaw, leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, said: "While we realise and respect that difficult decisions have been made by the company, we value the role Young's fulfils in our community and we will continue to work hard to ensure that the food manufacturing sector thrives in North East Lincolnshire."
And positives were being drawn from the announcement by those operating in the town's crucial industry.
Steve Norton, chief executive of Grimsby Fish Merchants' Association, said: "It is always sad when people have to lose jobs, but this could be good news for Grimsby if indeed manufacturing of products is to be relocated.
"It will further strengthen and endorse the cluster, which is going from strength to strength at the minute.
"I can understand why. It brings greater efficiencies. I think there will be job creation, but this will go someway to preserving and retaining jobs as well."
Consultation at Border Laird, in Amble, continues, with a sale a possibility.
Meanwhile, planning permission for an external extension, external buildings and a temporary car park has been granted for Morrisons at the former Kwoks Foods site – which will see about 230 jobs created.
As reported, Morrisons decided to set up a seafood processing unit on Grimsby's Europarc at the Kwoks building, which closed in September 2009.
Jason Longhurst, head of development for North East Lincolnshire, said: "It was a sad day when Kwoks closed its doors.
"However, I am delighted at the anticipation of seeing the facility being brought back to life.
"Morrisons is a major coup for North East Lincolnshire and we are all excited about them joining our award-winning seafood cluster."
Recruitment is ongoing. At a recent workshop held for former employees of Kerry Foods, who were recently made redundant, Morrisons received applications from those eager to get back into work.
Anyone wanting to apply for a job is asked to visit www.iwantafreshstart.com.