Nicola Sturgeon vows to ‘explore all avenues’ to protect north jobs

Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon has said that agencies are “exploring all possible avenues” to protect threatened fish feed jobs in the north.

The first minister said she was “very concerned” by this week’s announcement that Norway-based Skretting intends to pull out of the UK.

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And she pledged that “everything possible will be done” to support the workers.

It emerged this week the futures of 51 staff, including those at its Invergordon base, had been plunged into doubt following the firm’s move to end its operations in the area.

Skretting chief executive Therese Log Bergjord appeared to blame the imminent opening of a new £93 million Marine Harvest fish feed plant at Kyleakin.

Caithness, Sutherland and Ross MSP Gail Ross raised the issue at first minister’s questions yesterday, urging the Scottish Government to support the workers.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I was very concerned to learn that Skretting plans to cease production at its plant in Invergordon and to close its distribution centre on Shetland.

“This will obviously be an anxious time for the company’s staff, their families and the local areas involved.

“Highlands and Islands Enterprise is engaged with the company locally and is seeking to engage with Skretting management in Norway.

“Highlands and Islands Enterprise is exploring all possible avenues of support to help secure a buyer for the business and retain jobs.

“However, in the unfortunate event of there being job losses, our partnership action for continuing employment team stands ready to offer its full support to staff.

“We understand that there are no immediate prospects of job losses at the warehouse in Kishorn that is used by Skretting and operated by a third party, and I can assure Gail Ross that everything possible will be done to support the company and the workers involved.”