South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth and Annandale South Councillor Sean Marshall have called for the establishment of a dedicated Jobs Taskforce to help mitigate against the impact of job losses at Pinneys in Annan.
The call comes after Pinneys owners Young’s Seafood announced that they planned to close their Stapleton Road factory in Annan with the loss of upto 450 posts at the site.
South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy Colin Smyth said, “The shock at Young’s announcement is slowly turning to anger and a desire to see action being taken to mitigate as far as possible the devastating impact of these planned job losses. Although the company are being urged to reconsider their decision during the closure consultation, there is little optimism they will do so and the clock is now ticking when it comes to finding alternative employment for the workforce”.
“We’re calling on the Scottish and UK Governments to establish a dedicated Jobs Taskforce, bringing together both Governments, the council, Trade Unions and other agencies to urgently look at ways to find alternative employment for those facing redundancy. It is vital that such a Taskforce has substantial resources behind it and doesn’t become another talking shop which I know has happened in other parts of Scotland where they have been used simply to deflect criticism of Government inaction. We’ve already had plenty of promises including a Borderlands Growth Deal, which so far hasn’t invested a penny in the area, and the pledge of a South of Scotland Enterprise Agency two years ago, which is still another two years away from being fully established. The workforce at Pinneys don’t have time to wait. They want to see everyone working together to deliver meaningful action now.
Annandale South Councillor Sean Marshall said, “The devastating announcement by Young’s will leave Annan and the surrounding area facing an unprecedented economic crisis never witnessed in this region’s economy before. That requires an urgent response from the UK and Scottish Government including the establishment of a Jobs Taskforce. But it has to be different from previous Taskforces we have seen in other areas. It must be equipped straight away with both the money and the powers to act quickly to ensure we provide alternative local employment opportunities by the end of the year for the over 400 families who will be affected by the massive redundancies sprung out on them by Young’s. No stone should be left unturned to consider opportunities to support existing local firms to grow and bring others to the area and that requires a dedicated, significant resources” .