Scottish salmon producer Loch Duart is missing business opportunities because of severe staff shortage.
The company, which has sites in Sutherland and the Outer Hebrides, couldn’t fill vacancies despite paying above the living wage and subsidizing transport, reported The Press and Journal.
The 10 vacancies it advertised remain unfilled despite the salary offer of £23,000 annually (US$27,500, Euro 27,000) plus bonus and opportunities for promotion, the publication reported. It currently has 160 staff in the Western Isles, Sutherland, Ross and Cromarty.
The salmon producer stressed it was losing business as a result of recruitment pressures.
“The Loch Duart processing plant is currently turning away opportunities because we are unable to recruit locally,” processing director Russell Leslie was quoted as saying.
Local politicians recently visited the company’s fish packaging plant to discuss the staffing crisis.
One of them, the leader of the Scottish National Party Ian Blackford, promised he will “seek a meeting with UK government ministers to push for a relaxation of rules to allow overseas workers to come and work for Loch Duart to support the company in its growth ambitions.”
“The company has ambitions to grow and be an integral part of the local economy but it is clear to me it is being held back by inflexible immigration policies that are hampering the ability of the company to recruit foreign workers to complement the current locally based workforce,” he said.
Loch Duart is the first fish farm in the world to be accredited with ‘RSPCA Assured’ approval. Its salmon was on the menu at the wedding of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge. The company was acquired by SAF II Master Fund LP, a fund managed by investment firm Vision Ridge Partners in Boulder, Colorado in June 2020.