The real story has eventually come out, as I knew it would, and I have been sitting on some papers that put the lie to the public story. I didn't want to release them until now, in case I was blamed for the company pulling out by those who sought to throw accuse others.
The original story – remember that? – was that the factory needed a major upgrade to meet health & hygiene requirements to the customers satisfaction, and that major investment was (unexpectedly) required to fund this, but that Marybank was not (now) a suitable site for this to happen on.
That had the stink of unmitigated bollocks; but it hooked the naive who didn't question management or the rational of the supposed 'problem', and went off on a wild goose chase, raising expectations of public money, new factories and a 'rescue'
The internal papers I found all showed that hygiene was not an issue at the Lewis factory, indeed the talk was all about the success of the factory. Some of the other recent finance papers are here and here, and tell the same tale.
Now, the reason for closure is supposedly that the company needed to make cuts to generate cash, save money and meet its banking covenants. The need to urgently generate £12m in cash is supposedly the driver for the closure, but how closing a profitable factory will generate that amount of cash in a few months is unclear, especially since the factory does not appear to be for sale.
They are still peddling misinformation.
The whole philosophy has been to cut costs by centralising the value added packing of the salmon in Argyll. We are left with the low value jobs and Jim Mather MSP gets the high-value jobs in his constituency.
Does this explain why Enterprise Minister Jim Mather has been conspicuous by his absence? And why our MP and MSP have had no substantive response to the letters they claim to have written?
It has been said before on this blog by others, and I will say it again, it looks like MacNeil and Allan were told by Jim Mather that they factory wouldn't be saved, so not to bother rocking the boat too much.
The prospect of new tenants for Marybank or a new factory in Arnish (to compete with Scalpay??) is as implausible as it is impractical, and what we have seen is another key industry sector pulled from under us.
All of which takes me to my next post.