Workers hit by factory closure bombshell

Shocked workers are coming to terms with losing their jobs after a ‘bombshell’ announcement over the closure of a troubled factory, following the collapse of a deal to sell it.

Production is set to stop at Amble’s Border Laird, now Ocean Pure, by the end of this week, with the loss of the remaining 38 staff at the plant.

Up to 80 posts have been axed at the Coquet Enterprise Park-based site since its future was thrown into doubt last year.

It is another blow for the town, which is still feeling the effects of the closure of the former Northumberland Foods factory in 2011.

One worker, who did not want to be named, said: “It was a shock. People are coming to terms with the suddenness of it and the short turn-around time.

“We were hoping the sale would go through and then, on Monday, we were thrown the bombshell that it hadn’t.”

The decision to close follows the acquisition of the customer contracts and equipment by Lion Capital, which owns Young’s Seafood Limited, from Cumbrian Seafoods after the company went into administration in December.

Pete Ward, of Young’s, said: “We have been exploring the option of selling the former Cumbrian Seafoods’ Border Laird business as a going concern.

“Unfortunately the third party, which had an interest in the langoustine business, withdrew their offer.

“We have no other third parties interested in buying the business. Following this, and the collective consultation process, we have considered all options, and have announced the closure of the Border Laird facility with the loss of the remaining 38 roles.

“We have explored all options in detail, including retaining the business, transferring the volume into Young’s facilities, and selling the business as a going concern but unfortunately no financially viable option has been found for the site moving forward.”

He praised the workers at Amble, adding: “We will start individual consultation with staff about options for the future, the potential to apply for any vacancies within Young’s, and will work hard to redeploy as many roles as possible. Employees will be given priority for suitable roles within the Young’s business.”

MP Sir Alan Beith described the news as a ‘bitter disappointment when a solution and a future for the business seemed to be in place’.

He said he would help those affected by the closure and will talk to ministers and others about Amble’s needs.

“Efforts to generate new jobs for the town need to be redoubled, at what is still a very difficult time for the economy,” he added.