A Highlands and Islands politician has called for the government to help workers facing the sack from a Moray food firm.
The Baxter’s soup company last week announced plans to shed up to 80 jobs at its Fochabers factory over the next two years.
The move was met with dismay locally, but bosses said the redundancies would be necessary to keep up with international competition.
MSP David Stewart has now contacted Holyrood leaders and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to ensure that employees who lose their jobs are taken care of.
Mr Stewart said: “This is a large number of jobs, and for a small scattered community to lose so many is a real concern.
“I understand that there will be a period of consultation with staff and the plans are that the jobs will go over the next two years.
“I have written to HIE and the Scottish Government asking what form of support has been offered to the company and the workers to allow them to diversify into other careers.”
Mr Stewart has also written to Baxters, asking the firm what measures it has taken to ensure that as many jobs as possible are kept.
Audrey Baxter, executive chairwoman and group CEO of Baxters, blamed “external challenges” for the staffing blow.
She said: “We must respond to ongoing external challenges such as difficult trading conditions, squeeze on margins, food deflation, aggressive promotional activity and overall category decline reflecting change in consumer tastes.”