Discussions over the future of the Aberdeen’s last paper mill have been hailed as positive by union chiefs.
The Common Purpose Group was set up earlier this year following the announcement Arjowiggins Fine Papers Ltd, which operates Stoneywood Mill, was in administration.
The group is made up of a range of groups, including management, Unite, Scottish Enterprise, local authorities and more.
French company Sequana filed for administration for Arjowiggins Fine Papers Ltd in January, throwing almost 500 jobs into doubt.
A preferred bidder was selected in March, however, workers were told earlier this week discussions had ceased and talks with a management buyout team would move forward instead.
Shauna Wright, Unite the Union regional officer, said: “It was a positive meeting.
“The plans are progressing nicely and we just want to make sure the staff are supported.
“With the news on Tuesday that the bid was not going ahead, it was really positive news to hear that the management committee are in discussions for a buyout.
“Unite is optimistic that a successful buyout of the Stoneywood Mill can be achieved in the coming weeks, which would maintain hundreds of jobs on site. However, there is a lot of hard work ahead to get this offer over the line.”
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Timelines for a buyout were discussed, however, group members were told there wasn’t one at present.
Jamie Hepburn, Scottish Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, also travelled to the city to sit in on the meeting, saying the talks breaking down would have been “disappointing”.
He added: “That would have come as a real blow to the workforce. It was certainly not what they were hoping for.
“No decisions have been taken, it’s more to discuss what’s happening. There are small steps that can be taken to move in a positive direction.”
Work at the mill is continuing as normal while buyout discussions take place, and Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the Scottish Government would do everything it could to save the business when pressed by Donside MSP Mark McDonald.
He said: “In the government’s view it is perfectly possible for a viable business proposition to be brought forward.
“I give Mr McDonald the assurance that the government is doing everything we possibly can with our agencies to make sure that all possible support can be made available.”