'Hands off our staff' call from the helm of floundering Five Star Fish factory

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 5 Apr 2018

Beleaguered bosses at Grimsby’s Five Star Fish have issued a warning to businesses to keep their hands off their staff, despite the proposed closure threatening all 390 roles.

Several companies in the sector are keen to capitalise on the skilled workforce, and announced recruitment plans on the back of the devastating news, not least Young’s – which will pick up the major M&S contracts – and Morrisons. Between them 300 roles are being created, with further jobs flagged up at smaller operators.

Clearly keen to ensure contracts can be served in the coming months, and shedding light on the timeframe for the Great Grimsby Business Park site, the team at the helm of the listing facility acted underlining “secure employment for the next six months” for the majority of Five Star staff.

A letter issued by general manager Mark Carnaghan, and passed to the Telegraph, politely asks would-be employers to hold-off the headhunting, for now.

In the correspondence, penned on Bank Holiday Monday as the Morrisons expansion on Europarc went public, Mr Carnaghan wrote: “Our overriding priority is to obtain the best possible outcome for all colleagues. If this proposal goes ahead, affected colleagues will be offered opportunities, where relevant, at other sites within the broader group, filling current vacancies. If applicable, we will also look at external employment options and will link in with other organisations, including yours, over the coming weeks. However, I must stress at the moment the majority of our colleagues will have secure employment for at least six months, so we are not looking to displace them immediately.

MORE: From founding father John Fenty to future in jeopardy - the rise and fall of Five Star Fish

“With that in mind, although we respect individuals will make up their own minds and some may look sooner rather than later, we ask you respectfully, do not approach our colleagues directly at this time until we are at a point in the consultation process where we may need to seek alternative, external employment.”

Five Star’s owner, 2 Sisters Food Group, runs a soup site on Europarc and chicken processing facilities in Scunthorpe. Both are understood to be performing well, with major investment in the latter recently announced. 

With options so close to the stricken site, the relocation will be more appealing than, for example, the proposal announced this week for Young’s to move salmon work from Annan to Grimsby, but with process operative wages low, there will be a reluctance to add to any travel costs for those affected.

One recipient of the letter, who said no direct approach had been made, but that staff had been in contact, said: “It is really bizarre. Everyone is losing their jobs and they want to avoid them looking elsewhere.”

A spokesman for Five Star Fish said it was business as usual at the site, with the minimum consultation period of 45 days now under way.

While staff may be keen to take pro-active steps to shore up a future, depending on the stage in the consultancy when a new job is taken, it could affect any potential redundancy payment.

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