Job losses confirmed and factory to go after Marks & Spencer contract lost

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 22 Aug 2016

ICELANDIC Seachill has confirmed there will be 86 job losses and a factory will close following the shock move by Marks & Spencer to end a long-standing relationship with the Grimsby processing giant.

The town’s second largest private employer lost £60 million of work from the prestigious client in June, as reported, and the deli site on Estate Road Five will now cease production in spring next year. 

The largest proportion of the supply contract was won by Five Star Fish, another Grimsby processor, but some work has left the town.

The job loss figures are far lower than first feared, and could be lower still, as opportunities are created in the chilled sector of the £260 million turnover business. Initial estimates were around the 200 mark. 

Five Star’s owner, Two Sisters Food Group, has also said it intends to recruit between 70 and 100 staff while investing £6 million on Great Grimsby Business Park.

An Icelandic Seachill spokesperson said: “Following M&S’s decision to transfer all their business with Icelandic Seachill to an alternative supplier, in June of this year we announced a proposal to close the existing Icelandic Seachill deli site and transfer production into our coated site. 

“We entered into collective consultations with Unite the Union and elected representatives of our monthly paid employees. This milestone has now been reached and the consultations have now broadly concluded. 

“We can confirm that the deli site location is expected to close at the end of March 2017 and remaining products will be relocated to the coated site location.

“Although any job losses are regrettable, we can report that the final number of redundancies will be significantly lower than originally envisaged, falling from 175 to 86. There is a possibility of this figure reducing further as employees take opportunities at our chilled site, however this will have an impact on the number of agency staff employed.”

Individual consultations continue until  the end of August as the selection process for remaining roles is ongoing.

The spokesperson added: “We appreciate this is a difficult and sensitive time for our employees, and our priority as a business is to support those affected by M&S’s decision. 

“Icelandic Seachill remains in good shape with strong and continuing partnerships with our other valued customers.”

During the difficult period the business won and launched the production of ‘Finest’ fish cakes for Tesco, with Saucy Fish Co also continuing to broaden its global appeal. This month Austria was added to the international listings, where it majors in the US. 

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