Scottish Parliament has been warned that the closure of Pinneys factory would be an 'economic tsunami' for Annan.
450 jobs are at risk as Young's Seafood Limited begins consulting on the future of the factory.
South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth spoke in Holyrood on behalf of workers at Pinneys.
He will meet the Chief Executive of Young’s Seafood tomorrow, in a bid to convince Young’s to reverse their plans to close the factory or to find a buyer.
“When you add agency and seasonal workers to the permanent workforce, the potential job losses if Pinneys closes is likely to nearer 700 which would be an economic tsunami in a community the size of Annan with a working population of just five and half thousand. Whilst the first priority is to use the 45-day consultation to try to convince Young’s to change their closure decision and if this is unsuccessful to find a buyer for the Pinneys site, does the Cabinet Secretary share the concerns of the local community that one of the reasons any job losses would be so disastrous is the fact the fundamental weaknesses in the local economy in terms of poor infrastructure, the lowest pay in Scotland, and few large employers have not been tackled and those weaknesses are now coming back to haunt us?”
In response, Business Minister Paul Wheelhouse said:
We are clearly taking forward proposal for a South of Scotland Enterprise Agency and that is medium to long term mission to try and transform the economy of the South. In the immediate period we have a more sever challenge in the context of Annan if all 450 permanent jobs were to be lost and indeed the seasonal jobs in the October to December period which is the peak period of production, would have very significant consequences for the area were that to happen. One of the virtues of having the action group is to not just look at the specifics around the particular impact of the plant closure but also look to see if there is anything out with this process where we can try and do something to strengthen the economy in Annan. We know that the vast majority of staff are concentrated within a 10 mile radius therefore we know job losses on that scale will have huge impact on Annan.”