Seven Seas blames economy over Hull factory closure plan
SEVEN Seas has blamed the country's economy after announcing its factory in Hull could close.
More than 250 jobs could be lost as a result of the closure if MPs fail to persuade the vitamins firm to keep its site in east Hull open.
The company is looking to gradually outsource production from Hull over three years, with the potential loss of 259 jobs in the city.
MP Karl Turner met Seven Seas's managing director John Redman yesterday to discuss the reasons behind the planned closure.
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Mr Turner said: "The meeting gave me the opportunity to hammer home how devastating this decision would be for our economy.
"Mr Redman presented the company's business case to me and I have no reason to think the business reasons behind this decision are anything less than genuine.
"I don't think the decision has been made yet but I believe, based on the information given to me from Mr Redman, the business will outsource its production from Hull by 2015.
"However, I want to ensure everyone I will be doing everything I can to try to persuade them to stay."
Hull North MP Diana Johnson said losing 259 more private sector jobs in Hull would come as another blow to East Yorkshire's economy.
She said: "From what Seven Seas is saying, it is clearly a tough business climate.
"Although MPs will try everything possible to look at all the options available during the consultation, it will be tough reversing this company's decision without a growing economy."
Mr Redman told Mr Turner the dramatic decline in profit over the past two years was a key factor in the decision.
Mr Turner said he was given assurances by the company it would remain in the city for at least the next ten years.
He said: "This announcement came completely out of the blue.
"I was given assurances the company was here to stay for a long time but, unfortunately, profits at the firm have reduced rapidly and it has been left in a precarious position."
Seven Seas, which opened in Hull in 1935, has been criticised by MPs since making the announcement last week.
Mr Turner used yesterday's meeting to enforce the importance of the company to Hull and that its departure would be a huge blow to the city's fishing heritage.
He said: "Families are depending on Seven Seas and I want guarantees the company is doing all it can to stay in Hull."
Mr Redman told Mr Turner the company will be working with trade unions and help their employees find new work should the company stick to its decision.
Yesterday also marked the start of a 90-day consultation between the company and trade unions to try to reach an agreement on pay conditions.
Another meeting is scheduled with the company in two weeks, when Mr Turner will be joined by Ms Johnson and MP Alan Johnson to discuss the consultation process.