Fife business helps worker’s family flee Ukraine war and gives them jobs

A Fife business has helped a worker’s family flee war in the Ukraine - and given them jobs.

Friday, 1st July 2022, 7:44 am

A handwritten letter sparked a multi-country effort to get Olena Mylokost and Svetlana Khizhyak to safety.

And now the duo have started work at Rosyth based Mowi Consumer Products UK,- Scotland’s largest producer of Atlantic salmon.

The company worked closely with colleagues at its Polish plant to ensure the couple and their extended family got to safety in the Kingdom.

Gary Paterson welcomes Olena Mylokost, Svitlana Gizlarjans, Svetlana Khizhyak and their family to the Fife business

The letter which sparked the action came from Svitlana Gizlarjans who had been working at the processing plant for six months, along with her husband, a long-standing employee.

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Gary Paterson, head of operations, Mowi Consumer Products UK, picks up the story: “She wrote to her line manager to ask if there was anything Mowi could do to help get her family to safety from Kyiv.

“The letter was then given to me and from the very first email I sent to our colleagues in Poland, the process to get them safe passage began.”

In March, Mr Paterson got in touch with Robert Zelewski, HR Director, Mowi Central Europe, whose team had already started to evacuate Ukrainian relatives of staff from the Ustka factory in Poland, sending buses to the Poland-Ukraine border to collect them and bring them to safety, reuniting them with their families.

He was quickly introduced to the project team co-ordinating the evacuation response from Mowi Poland which included Tetiana Bondarenko, a Ukrainian national working in the HR team, and Iwona Chrapkowska from internal communications.

Mr Paterson added: “From the moment I was introduced to Iwona and Tetiana, things started to move quickly. Tetiana, as a Ukrainian national, was able to speak to Svetlana and find out more about her family which included a 10-month-old baby, two children aged three, and four adults. Svetlana was obviously extremely worried and desperate to get them out of the warzone.”

On March 24, Svetlana’s family made it to Medyka on the Poland-Ukraine border, where they were met by the team from Mowi Poland and taken to a hotel in Warsaw.

The company covered all accommodation costs while the family applied for visas and passports to gain entry to the UK.

One month later they were en route to Scotland.

Mr Paterson added: “I have never felt prouder to work for Mowi and be part of a global team that was able to literally change people’s lives.

At the end of May, the family arrived at the Fife factory to say thank you to the team who helped them settle in Rosyth.

Added Mr Paterson: “I was completely overwhelmed. It is a moment I will never forget.”

Olena and Svetlana also got work at the plant.

Svitlana said: “I am so happy to have my family here and extremely grateful to Mowi for making this happen. Thank you to everybody who helped us.”

Mowi Consumer Products UK (CPUK) employs 750 FTEs.