Concerns are growing in Annan with the recent announcement that Pinneys are to start consultations on the closure of their local site, with fears of 450 jobs losses.
Pinneys of Scotland is one of the UK’s largest processors of Scottish salmon and one, if not the largest employer in Annan.
South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy Colin Smyth said: “This is absolutely devastating news for the Pinneys workforce and their families and my thoughts are with them. There are whole families employed at Pinneys which has served the town as a major employer for decades and this closure will be an utter tragedy for so many people in our area.
“A closure of this scale in such a small community will send shockwaves right across the whole, already fragile, local economy. It is also a massive blow to the Scottish food and drinks industry to lose such a long standing processor in Scotland. It’s just a few years since £3m was invested at the site and production from elsewhere was moved to Annan.
“It shows just how precarious the position was for Pinneys and the extent to which peoples very livelihoods are held at the whim of big business owners. The fact that the company plan to recruit 200 new jobs in the north of England while axing hundreds of jobs in Annan shows a real lack of loyalty to a workforce who have served the company for many years.
“Given the enormous impact of this closure on the area, the Scottish and UK Governments need to go beyond simply putting in place the usual PACE response. Annan has never fully recovered from the rundown of Chapelcross and now faces the double whammy of losing its only other big private employer.
“I have written to the First Minister urging the Scottish Government to make available significant urgent additional investment for the new South of Scotland Enterprise Partnership to focus on the Annan area to support growth in existing businesses and to attract new ones to the area in the hope we can at least partly mitigate this loss”.
Annandale South Labour Councillor and Chairman of Annan Regeneration Steering Group Sean Marshall said: “The loss of potentially 450 local positions at Pinneys is a devastating blow for the people and economy of Annan and the surrounding area. But as the largest private employer in Dumfries and Galloway, it is also a huge blow to the whole region’s already weak economy. It is vital that Dumfries and Galloway Council along with both UK and Scottish Governments intervene and work together quickly and effectively to mitigate the loss of jobs and the effect this closure will have on the local economy.”