Seven Seas jobs threat a 'kick in the teeth' for Hull
IT WAS formed when Hull's trawler owners came up with a solution for what was, essentially, a byproduct of the fishing industry.
But now a threat looms over the future of Seven Seas, a company with a history stretching back 77 years to more affluent times.
Its 259 workers gathered at the Freedom Centre in east Hull yesterday afternoon to hear management outline a proposal to shift its commercial operation to London.
Words such as "outsourcing" and "relocation" did nothing to mask the reality that the plan is to shut down the Hull factory by 2015.
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Dave Oglesby, of the GMB, said entering 90-day consultation had not come as a huge surprise.
"There has been a feeling for some time the company in Hull wasn't in a good position, with various roles such as canteen staff and security outsourced over the past year," he said.
"Hull is the home of Seven Seas – it was where the company was established and, since then, has been an important employer in the city.
"It is such a historic company part of the fabric of Hull, which makes this announcement even sadder."
Although the Government has been heralding signs of the so-called "green shoots" of recovery for more than a year, Hull has been haemorrhaging job losses across the industrial landscape, from caravan manufacturing to retail.
The threat to Seven Seas jobs comes just a day after McCain announced up to 50 employees could lose their jobs at its factory at Brighton Street Industrial Estate.
Mr Oglesby said he feared worse was to come for the Hull jobs market.
"I don't think we have hit the bottom yet. I fear we will see more significant job losses before the year is out," he said.
"We already know there is going to be more pain with further job losses in the public sector.
"The Government said the private sector was going to create jobs to replace those lost in the public sector but that is not happening in Hull – quite the opposite in fact.
"Hull has historically been blighted by a lack of investment and this is just another example of losing a company with important historical links to Hull.
"Once again, it is a real kick in the teeth for Hull and, at the moment, I can't find any signs of positivity to balance it."
Seven Seas was founded in Hull 77 years ago by a consortium of trawler owners, who ploughed their money into the commercial production of what was essentially a byproduct of their industry.
In 1935, cod liver oil was launched with the brand name Seven Seas and since then, the health supplements firm has expanded from a small co-operative to a company supplying products to countries around the world.
Seven Seas managing director John Redman said Seven Seas was "not taking this proposal lightly".
He said: "It reflects the continuing difficult economic conditions that the company is facing. Seven Seas has been a leading health brand for 77 years and we have to take action now to ensure it remains successful in the years ahead."
Karl Turner MP said: "This is terrible news for workers at Seven Seas and their families.
"With 40 people chasing every job already, this is the last thing the city needs.
"Nick Clegg was in the House of Commons today bragging this Government has created a million jobs. He is totally out of touch with reality."