AN MP has vowed to do everything possible to fight the planned closure of a food processing plant with the loss of hundreds of jobs.
Easington MP Grahame Morris made the pledge after it emerged that 363 posts are under threat with the proposal to shut Cumbrian Seafoods’ plant on Seaham’s Foxcover Industrial Estate.
The firm went into administration last month, when customer contracts and equipment were bought by Lion Capital, owner of rival Young’s Seafood.
Lion has now announced it is in consultation with staff at Cumbrian’s three sites, in Seaham, Whitehaven and Amble, over plans which would see their closure and their business merged with Young’s existing operations, with the loss of up to 565 jobs – including 363 in Seaham.
Mr Morris said today he was urgently seeking a meeting with company bosses in a bid to save the Cumbrian Seafoods site.
“I will do everything I can to preserve jobs in the constituency and try to protect that plant,” he said.
“We are close to the distribution centres for the supermarket chains. It makes sense to centralise production there. It seems that the sensible thing would be to continue production as Seaham is the most modern factory.
“Initially, I was very hopeful when I heard that Young’s had bought the company from administration because they are a market leader but that optimism has turned to disappointment.
“Cumbrian Seafoods was the biggest employer in Seaham only a year ago – it employed 500 people and had expansion plans to take on another 200.”
A statement from Young’s said: “It is clear from the fact that Cumbrian Seafoods went into administration that the business model for the sites was not financially viable and restructuring is now needed.”
Peter Ward, Young’s chief operating officer, said the move “does not reflect on the committed and skilled teams”.
He added: “We continue to be focused on fulfilling customer contracts and talking in detail with the employees about options for the future.”