SCOTBEEF (Inverurie) Ltd has announced that 39 jobs are to be lost from it’s meat processing operations in Inverurie following a period of consultation.
But the company point out that the figure is less than the 70 jobs that were projected to be lost before the start of the consultation period last year.
A spokesperson for Scotbeef (Inverurie) said that hey “very much regret any job losses” adding that “following the creation of the new business from the former Scotch Premier Meat and Mathers (Inverurie) Ltd, we have had to face up to some tough decisions about our cost base for the long term good of the company.”
Scotchbeef (Inverurie) Ltd was formed by the merger of Scotchbeef, Mathers and Scotch Premier last year, with Inverurie based ANM Group holding a 25 per cent share in the firm. The new firm intends to concentrate its business for the present at the Scotch Premier Meat site on Inverurie’s North Street. Future plans are to relocate both the Mathers facility and Scotch Premier operations to a brand new custom built processing facility at Thainstone, Inverurie. The Scotch Premier Meat facility in North Street, Inverurie could then be sold for development.
Regarding the job losses the spokesperson added “As a result of the staff consultation we have been able to considerably reduce the number of affected positions.”
Commenting on the situation ANM Group chief executive Pat Machray OBE said in a letter to group members, that job losses were a “downside to of our new venture” and that “it is not something that anyone can be happy about.” Mr Machray added, “Realistically, for the long term good we have to face up to tough decisions about the cost base of working abattoirs and consolidation of activity is a prerequisite.”
He also told members that the group had not yet decided the exact location of the new abattoir facilities at Thainstone but that “it is the intention of Scotbeef (Inverurie) Ltd to begin building a new facility as soon as it is practicable.” A custom built new facility at the Thainstone site would also remedy the problem of having two abattoirs based in the centre of Inverurie next to housing and Strathburn Primary School.
Mr Macharay confirmed ANM Groups commitment to the meat processing industry in the area saying, “we intend to ensure that the future of the North-east abattoir / meat industry, from an independent point of view, is absolutely 100 per cent maintained.”
The future of the hatchery at Blackhall Road, Inverurie, which has around 20 staff, remains uncertain, following Dutch firm Vion’s decision to sell all of its business operated by its subsidiary Vion UK.
Regarding the future of the Inverurie site, First Minister and Aberdeenshire East MSP Alex Salmond said, “I have been in touch with the Chairman of Vion UK to seek clarification of sale plans and assurances on the potential for business continuity in the interests of the local workforce.
“The negotiations are at a commercially sensitive stage, and we are not expecting a resolution for some weeks. It is however the expectation that the Scottish end of the business, including the local plants, can be sold as a going concern and I have secured a commitment that I will be kept in touch with developments as local MSP, and so will the Scottish Government.”
Mr Salmond added, “This is obviously a worrying time for workers and their families, however there is some optimism in the news that the business could be sold.”