40 jobs under threat at seafood factory

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Forty jobs are under threat at Newton Stewart’s Galloway Seafoods with workers to be told within six months if the factory will close.

Owners Whitby Seafoods, which bought the plant in February 2014, said it has recently undertaken a ‘structural review’ of its business with the objective of ‘matching their four manufacturing sites to the specialist skills for the area and history of that site’.

Whitby is considering whether its only Scottish site, Galloway Seafoods, will continue to coat and pack scampi and other seafood as, at present, it says it is a ‘duplication of some of the processes in Whitby’.

A statement added that it ‘is possible the products produced at Galloway will be moved to being manufactured in Whitby’.

It said: “Whitby expects this relocation of activities to take place within six months if this decision is made. The 40 employees of Galloway Seafoods have been notified that this possibility is under consideration.”

Whitby Seafoods managing director Daniel Whittle said: “Our mission to wow customers with fresh-tasting, carefully prepared seafood is at the heart of this review.

“It is our aim to continue to build our efficiency and focus through specialisation to protect our business in an ever evolving market.”

Whitby Seafoods is a leading producer of seafood, marketing Whitby Scampi and other Whitby-branded products in retailers and restaurants including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Waitrose. It bought the Galloway Seafoods site in February 2014 from the Sco-Fro group for an undisclosed sum.

Whitby gained the Galloway Seafood customer base, which includes shops and wholesalers. The site produces own-brand scampi. The deal in 2014 took Whitby’s share of the UK scampi market from 14 to 20 per cent. At the time the company said that one of the attractions was the site’s Scottish location and its proximity to important fishing grounds. The statement added: “It has been decided that the head office site at Whitby, North Yorkshire, will remain the company’s centre of excellence for the preparation, coating and packing of scampi, prawns, goujons and battered fillets. All products with the Whitby brand name will continue to be produced there. The company’s technical, NPD, sales accounts and marketing teams are also based at this site.

“The two sites Whitby owns at Kilkeel harbour will be combined into one new fully refurbished site. This site will continue to operate as Kilkeel Seafoods and will be the specialist site for shelling, freezing and preparing scampi tails.”