Almost 300 jobs will be lost at Young’s Seafood in Fraserburgh – despite the company that beat them to a major contract outsourcing their work to Poland.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said that the company expects to have just 238 employees by May 2016 – despite currently employing more than 530.
The revelations followed claims from Labour North East MSP, Lewis Macdonald, that Norwegian-based company Marine Harvest was now processing Scottish Salmon for Sainsbury’s in Poland.
Earlier this year, Marine Harvest beat Young’s to the major supermarket contract, promising to process the fish at its Fife plant.
Mr Macdonald said: “The cabinet secretary (Mr Swinney) will be aware of reports that some of Sainsbury’s Scottish salmon is now being processed in Poland or in other countries because the company that won the Scottish salmon supply contract has failed to deliver.
“Will ministers look into those reports and meet Sainsbury’s as a matter of urgency?
“Will they stand up for the hundreds of workers in the north-east who are facing redundancy early in the new year, and press Sainsbury’s to give those workers hope for the future instead of exporting their jobs?”
Mr Swinney confirmed that Young’s Seafood was planning on making hundreds of workers redundant and said he was committed to helping stem the job losses.
He also insisted that he would take up the issue with Sainsbury’s.
He said: “The Scottish Government at all times acts to protect employment in Scotland.
“We have been actively involved in all the discussions about trying to preserve and protect employment in Fraserburgh.
“I will certainly ensure that the reports to which Mr Macdonald referred are looked into, and that any relevant issues are raised with Sainsbury’s.”
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We are absolutely committed to sourcing our salmon from Scotland and all our own-brand fresh salmon is Scottish.”
Andy Stapley, Managing Director of Marine Harvest Consumer Products Ltd said: “Our salmon processing plant at Rosyth has been operating for a year now.
“We are well equipped to handle the contract from Sainsbury’s which we won earlier in the year.
“We’ve increased our workforce and now employ more than 500 people producing 70,000 packs of Scottish salmon each day.”