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There was a mixed reception in the city to yesterday’s news that production of jam and marmalade in Dundee, one of the cornerstones of the city’s reputation for almost two centuries, is to cease and move to Manchester as a result of a takeover.
In a brief statement, Barker & Dobson Group announce it is to sell its “Keiller Preserves” subsidiary in Mains Loan to the Rank Hovis McDougall Group in a £4 million plus deal.While Dundonians greeted the announcement with sadness, there was a qualified welcome from the Dundee Project over what it was as a new avenue being opened in the city’s development.
A project spokesman said, “The Dundee Project welcomes the investment Barker & Dobson is making in its operations in Dundee.
“The company has decided to concentrate its activities in confectionary, and this has seen them creating 70 new jobs in the city this year – taking their workforce in Dundee up to 285 people.
“The decision to discontinue production of Keiller preserves ends a piece of Dundee history but this part of Barker & Dobson’s operations in Dundee was very small in relation to the confectionary side of their business and, in fact, employed only 17 people on a part-time basis with the rest of their time devoted to confectionary.”
“These people will now be working full-time in the confectionary department, which means no job losses”
“The production of confectionary is central to operations of Barker & Dobson, who are to be congratulated for the investment they have made in Dundee and the confidence they have expressed in their Dundee workforce”
Tayside convener Ron Tosh strongly criticised the disposal of the jam and marmalade making side of Keiller’s. He said “My immediate reaction is that it is absolutely disgraceful. It appears to be in line with the ‘get rich quick’ economy, where the interests of people who have built up the business to make it profitable are disregarded completely”.
However, Councillor George Hood, Tayside’s economic development convener said, “While we recognise the historical importance of the jam industry in Dundee, we can’t attach too much sentiment to argue a case for retention for that reason alone.”
“If the move by Barker & Dobson is going to strengthen the confectionary side, then that must be welcomes for the obvious positive benefits to Tayside’s economy.”
Confectionary production is to continue at the Keiller plant in Mains Loan and will be expanded to fill the lines occupied until now by the preserves, with the personnel also making the switch at no cost to job numbers.
R.H.M. Grocery division confirmed the names Keiller and Dundee will be retained, but production is to be removed to the Robertson’s plant in Manchester, where there is spare manufacturing capacity.
James Keiller is thought to have been the first commercial manufacturer of marmalade in 1797, and Dundee has always been credited with the invention of the nation’s favourite breakfast spread,
For Rank Hovis McDougall, the managing director of grocery division Mr Howard Mann said “The addition of Keiller to our portfolio complements our existing brands. It strengthens Robertson’s position as one of the U.K’s leading producers of marmalade and jams”.
Liverpool based Barker & Dobson’s announced in November 1985 it had bought Keiller’s from the Okhai Group of Dundee in a deal worth about £5 million.
The family-run Okhai firm had purchased Keiller’s for an undisclosed sum in August 1981, from Nestle’s after the multi-national company revealed that the Dundee plant in Mains Loan would close unless a buyer could be found.
Tayside Police have recruited comic character Dennis the Menace to spearhead a national campaign to eradicate a much more sinister menace to the nation’s children.
Yesterday at Bell Street Headquarters, Chief Constable Jack Bowman marked the official launch of Tayside’s “Say No to Strangers!” campaign, which is being fronted by the popular “Beano” character.
Some 33,000 bright yellow badges bearing the logo and cartoon drawing of Dennis have been produced by the force and with the support of Tayside Region’s education department, will be handed out to all primary children in the region.
It is thanks to the brightness of one of Tayside’s young constables, Malcolm Brown of community involvement, that the campaign was initiated and a “home made” educational video produce to accompany the drive to instil the important message in the minds of Tayside’s youngsters.
Just to make sure, an invited audience of pupils from Muirhead and Hillside primary schools were taken by Tayside Transport Company’s Dennis the Menace and Beryl the Pearl “fun bus” to police headquarters to see if their message had worked.
The video entitled “McGonagall’s On the Case” starring a fictional but convincing police sergeant and his magic whistle which summoned up his police car at will, was entertainingly presented by P.C. Brown, and aided by a young actor dressed as Dennis.
The video starred pupils from Muirhead Primary and some of Tayside police’s finest. Following the showing a “wee Oscar” trophy was presented to budding actress Katy Dixon of Murihead Primary, who played the part of the girl who “didn’t listen” to Sergeant McGonagall’s words of wisdom.
The production was directed and produced by P.C. Ian Kennedy and managed to bring home the serious underlying message of the campaign, while at the same time keeping the interest of the children at a maximum.
At the launch, Chief Constable Bowman told his audience the campaign was a “very important part” of the education programme for children.
“Recent events have heightened the awareness of everyone of the dangers that exist for children, particularly from those who have in their minds evil intent,” he stressed.
Superintendent Robert McMillan said that much time and organisation went into the campaign. “We are delighted with the colour and brightness of the campaign and it is our intention to apply to the Scottish Secretary to get the campaign adopted nationally,” he said.
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Motorists using the Tay Road Bridge learned yesterday that although present repairs to the structure should be completed by November, users could be faced with further delays for the next five years.
Bridge engineer Mr Francis White told the joint board that major repair and maintenance projects over this period would cost in the region on £10 million and £12 million.
Board members were shown example of corroded bolts and joints at a private presentation in Tayside House, illustrating the problems being encountered on the bridge.
Mr White stressed that these bolts were taken from a random sample and that not all bolts from the sample were corroded to the same extent.
Assurances were given again that the bridge was fully certificated for safety and fully capable of carrying its present traffic levels and more.
Corroded examples of bolts from the bridge parapets and other areas were part of a display before members, together with photographs and drawings and models of other work being undertaken.
Among the examples shown to members were dowel joints which connect deck sections at the expansion joints. If they were not there the individual deck sections would rock, only a matter of millimetres said one engineer, as traffic passed from one deck section to the other.
The bars shown were heavily corroded, buckled and distorted. Bolts which hold the parapet rails to the deck structure were also on display showing some where the ends had been corroded away to a needle point.
Others showed considerable evidence of rusting and complete base section with its retaining bolts was on display to demonstrate the variation in deterioration.
Since the corrosion in the parapet bolts was discovered at an initial sample, tests have been carried out at other locations, Mr White confirmed.
He said “the minute we find one, we replace the lot”
Mr White did confirm however, that the replacement programme of the parapet retaining bolts will not now be completed until August next year.
“Clearly it would be advisable to replace them, but there are practical considerations. The main complication is the Monk & Co are requiring possession of the bridge to replace the gantry rail.
“It also takes time to specify the repair contract documents for the replacement of the bolts and materials have to be ordered”
Asked how this equated with his previous statement that this work should be carried out as soon as possible, Mr White said that this was what was being done.
They would be going along behind the gantry runway replacement, expected to finish in November this year, but because of practical difficulties and the winter shutdown, it would be August next year before the work was complete.
Mr White, in revealing that motorists face five more years of delays, said that after the first tow, the extent of the lane closures should decrease.
Work on the gantry replacement programme should be substantially completed by October this year and the bridge fully open to traffic by November.
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The making of an unusual film record of a journey down the water slides at the swimming and leisure centre was approved last night by Dundee District Council’s leisure and recreation committee.
The video will be shot by Grampian TV as part of the children’s magazine programme “Get Fresh” which will be broadcast live from the Tay Road Bridge landfall area on Saturday, June 11.
Convener Mickey Duff told the committee that the council had been offered the resulting film to use for their own promotional purposes.
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Tayside Region S.N.P. group is most disappointed by the Scottish Secretary’s decision not to allow an additional borrowing requirement to finance the expenditure of the Dundee Waterfront Development.
Initially, group members were doubtful because of the cost involved and were concerned about the aesthetic effect such a development would have on one of the finest riverside sites in Europe.
Group leader Mrs Frances Duncan said right from the beginning that the S.N.P. group would not support the waterfront development if it meant cutting projects already planned.
“We will have to look very closely at this situation since the Labour administration is planning to defer projects in the landward areas to pay for a development in Dundee which many people regard as a “white elephant”.
Dr Flora Isles said, “People of Carnoustie will be most unhappy to see the Barry Bridge strengthening project postponed and provision of access to the high school swimming pool deferred.
Councillor Bob Elliot said that after all the Labour promises about a new campus at Angus Technical College; he found it incredulous that they felt it necessary to postpone such a vital facility for the young people of Angus where there is particular unemployment.
Councillor Sandy West deplored the fact that cuts were yet again being forced on the people of Tayside by a Conservative Government “which does not have a mandate in Scotland”. He said the choices would have to be made between essential services and the “prestige development in Scotland”.
Over 600 employees of Dundee District Council’s public work’s department walked out on strike yesterday after a mass meeting at the Clepington Road depot.
Members of staff engaged in work all over the city met at 9 a.m. and decided unanimously to take action following the sacking of a colleague.
Works convener Shop Stewart Mr Steve Devine confirmed the action was unofficial.
“Following the meeting of the workforce this morning we are on strike until Monday at the earliest, when we will hold another meeting to discuss out next moves”.
It’s understood the dispute concerns a joiner dismissed after a disagreement with a supervisor.
A spokesman for the district council confirmed later the action was taking place over dismissal of a member of the public works staff.
“This dismissal was made in a long-established, jointly-agreed procedure which has been breached by this action” he added.
“We will continue to seek a resolution through agreed procedures”.
He explained that, although emergency cover for housing repairs had been withdrawn, the council could still provide help for tenants with difficulties.
Tenants requiring emergency work are asked to contract their local housing area offices during office hours, or telephone 21684 out with office hours.