UK-based Young’s Seafood is to reduce its workforce by 50 at a processing facility in Scotland.

Employees at the Macrae seafood factory in Livingston, near Edinburgh, which is owned by Young’s, have been told that the downsizing is to happen due to a change in shift patterns after the company made investments in automation.

However Young’s, based in Grimsby on England’s east coast, has said it is committed to the long-term security of the factory which, it is understood, supplies UK retailer Waitrose.

In a statement, Bill Showalter, chief executive of Young’s, said: “Over the past two years, Macrae has made significant investment in automation and process improvement at its Livingston facility to drive productivity and create capacity. This investment has underpinned our competitiveness and, ultimately, contributes to the long-term security of the site.

“The delivery of these improvements in productivity now require the company to review its present manpower needs and the company is now proposing to restructure its shift patterns and reduce its headcount at the site by approximately 50 roles.

“We are proposing a move from the current two-shift structure to one shift and will now begin a consultation process with our employees.

“We remain committed to the long-term success of our Livingston site and this announcement does not in any way reflect on the hard work of our skilled teams who consistently deliver excellent service for our customers.”

Last June Young’s announced the closure of another Scottish plant – its Pinneys salmon site at Annan – with the loss of 450 jobs. It has switched production from there to its Grimsby base.

Young’s was formally put up for sale last April by its consortium of owners, which includes Lion Capital and Bain Capital, but a new owner has yet to emerge.