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  • Writer's pictureDeena Tissera

Call for embattled Aberdeen paper mill to be nationalised amid job fears

The Arjowiggins Stoneywood mill is back in administration

An Aberdeen councillor has issued a call for the Scottish Government to prevent further job losses at the Stoneywood paper mill by taking the historic plant into public hands.

More than 300 employees have already been made redundant at the mill after it entered administration for the second time last week while dozens of staff who remain on the books face the axe if it closes for good.

Owners Arjowiggins Scotland Ltd say 'severe challenges' including the impact of Covid-19 and rocketing energy costs have forced them to take the step. The company rescued the centuries-old factory with funding from Scottish Enterprise just three years ago when it was placed in administration for the first time.

Now Labour's Deena Tissera, who represents Hilton, Woodside and Stockethill, has launched a plea for Holyrood ministers to consider taking over the plant to save the remaining jobs.

"The Scottish Government needs to consider taking the Paper mill into public ownership to save these jobs and to ensure a paper mill remains in Aberdeen", she said.

"If the nationalists can save jobs in the shipyards or at the Motherwell steelworks then consideration must be given to do the same for our paper mill."

She also demanded action from first minister Nicola Sturgeon and promised that her Labour group will lodge a motion to the city council calling for the Edinburgh government to set up a taskforce to save the plant..

Cllr Tissera added: "Labour will be putting an emergency motion to council to ensure that a proper taskforce is set up by the SNP government to try and save the plant and the jobs at the paper mill.

"It is telling that our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has remained silent on if she intends to help keep a paper mill in Aberdeen. I am calling on the First Minister to find her vocal chords and work with Labour, the trade unions, the council and commerce to ensure that we do everything we can to save the only remaining paper mill in Aberdeen."

Councillor Deena Tissera has called for action from the Scottish Government.

Business minister Ivan McKee said: “The individuals affected by this announcement are our immediate priority and we recognise the important role they play in our economy.

"The Scottish Government is doing everything in our power to help those affected through our initiative for responding to redundancy situations, Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE). This has included the issuing of PACE information to affected employees and a PACE support event to be held on Thursday, September 29.”

Meanwhile, Aberdeen Donside MSP Jackie Dunbar said she had held a meeting with Mr McKee in which they discussed the impact of the mill's woes. The SNP politician also arranged a gathering of newly-jobless mill workers to give them the chance to get help with finding new work, getting new skills and claiming benefits.

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