An emergency response is being fleshed out for workers at Stoneywood paper mill who lost their jobs.
More than 300 posts were cut at the historic site with immediate effect on Thursday, with staff given only 90 minutes notice of the difficult news.
Further job losses are expected in the coming days after the mill, which is operated by Arjowiggins Scotland Ltd, was put into administration.
It comes three years after the mill escaped administration when a management buyout of the business was completed.
Administrators say the “severe challenges” posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, and “skyrocketing energy costs and spiraling input prices” have overwhelmed the firm.
A total of 368 of the company’s 463 UK employees were immediately made redundant on Thursday with 95 members of staff retained to assist with limiting operations.
In Aberdeen, 301 workers out of 372 workers lost their jobs on Thursday, with 71 retained to assist the joint administrators with their duties.
There are also redundancies at the mill operated by the firm in Kent.
Workers – some with decades of service – now face an uncertain time, with plans being drawn up to support them in the coming days.
What next for workers?
Scottish Enterprise “worked extensively” with Arjowiggins to explore “all possible options”, including a sale of the business, said a government spokesperson.
But a solution could not be found to turn the company’s situation around.
Now, the public body will work with administrators to understand the potential options for the business and “explore all possibilities to rescue the jobs”.
The Scottish Government says they will do everything in their power to help those affected through their initiative for responding to redundancy situations, the Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE).
Employment and union events
Jackie Dunbar, MSP for Aberdeen Donside, met Skills Development Scotland, who are leading that initiative, on Friday morning.
Officials from the organization are due to contact all affected employees with information on a special event they will hold on either Tuesday or Wednesday at an Aberdeen hotel.
The specific details for this event are yet to be finalized.
This meeting will be attended by representatives from:
- North East Scotland College
- Department for Work and Pensions
- ABZ Works
- Skills Development Scotland
- Developing the Youth Workforce
It will also include sessions on CV writing and interview skills.
Unite has organized a mass meeting at the Dunavon Hotel in Dyce from 1pm to 5pm on Tuesday, offering vital support to its members in the wake of the announcement.
What are MSPs doing?
Ms Dunbar, along with Gordon MP Richard Thomson, have requested an urgent meeting with the Minister for Business, Ivan McKee.
They, along with north-east MSP Douglas Lumsden, have also called for a meeting with the administrators and management of the Stoneywood Mill.
There is expected to be an urgent question heard at Holyrood on Tuesday on the matter, put forward by Mr Lumsden.
It’s now time to put that same focus on Aberdeen – they can’t just give up on our city.”
Douglas Lumsden, North East MSP
He said: “The Scottish Government pulled out all the stops to safeguard jobs in other parts of Scotland at places such as Ferguson shipyard, Michelin and BiFab regardless of the outcome.
“It’s now time to put that same focus on Aberdeen – they can’t just give up on our city.”
Ms Dunbar has urged affected constituents to immediately make a claim to the Department for Work and Pensions to claim financial support for redundancy.
She said: “Anyone who has been made redundant is automatically entitled to six months of Job Seekers Allowance.
“The Department for Work and Pensions can be slow in processing claims, so I encourage people to ensure their claim is in now.
“I am also seeking assurances from the DWP that they will work as quickly as possible.
“Ultimately, my concern is with the staff who are losing their jobs and incomes which, at any time, is an emotional and stressful experience, but particularly during the current cost of living crisis, it is extremely concerning.”
A DWP spokeswoman said: “We recognize that this is an uncertain time for affected employees and their families.
“Jobcentre Plus, through its Rapid Response Service, stands ready to support any employee affected.”
More information on Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit, eligibility and how to apply, can be found here:
Workers in tears at Stoneywood paper mill as nearly 400 jobs cut with immediate effect
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[Here’s what happens next as Stoneywood paper mill workers face job losses]