SCOTLAND : 850 HP FACTORY JOBS AXED
SCOTLAND : 850 HP FACTORY JOBS AXED
2009-05-29 at 12:19:15 pm #22151
scotland :850 factory jobs axed
Hi-tech giant blames slump
HUNDREDS of jobs are to be axed at computer giant Hewlett-Packard’s plant in Renfrewshire.Staff will today be given the devastating news that around 850 jobs will be axed at the Erskine site, which employs 1300 people.Workers will be called to a meeting this afternoon, when bosses will announce the cuts.Jobs in the manufacture of computer storage devices and servers will be wound down next year and it’s believed production will be shifted to the Czech Republic.Around 70 permanent staff are to go, while more than 770 agency staff employed by Manpower will bear the brunt of the cuts.The US firm – the world’s largest PC and printer maker – made a £1.1billion profit in the last quarter, despite a 17% drop in profit.It’s thought the job losses will be blamed on the global financial crisis.The massive job cuts are likely to have a major impact on the Renfrewshire economy, with local businesses already struggling to survive in the recession.Jim Sheridan, Labour MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said Hewlett-Packard confirmed late last night its plans to cut jobs.He said: “They will be closing at Erskine. There has been speculation about this for the last two months.”When I contacted the company they denied it was ever going to happen, but it has obviously been planned for some time.”This is absolute corporate greed. The workers have met every challenge presented to them by the company.”Hewlett-Packard has made £5.1billion profit. This is a company exploiting the current economic difficulties and the cheap labour force in the Czech Republic.”
Today the atmosphere at the Erskine site was subdued.
Some staff remained tight-lipped and claimed to know nothing about the job losses, while others said there had been rumours over the past few days.One worker said: “I’ve heard rumours for the past couple of days that something might be happening and that work may be going to Eastern Europe, but I don’t think it’s in a section which affects me.”It will be a nail-biting time for agency staff as they wait for the grim news.One agency worker said: “I’ve been off for a couple of days so I haven’t heard anything.”But with news that there will be job losses, particularly in the agency sector, that looks like it’s me.”
Hewlett-Packard said a statement would be issued later today but refused to confirm the job cuts.A company spokeswoman said: “Hewlett-Packard does not comment on rumour or speculation.”We do regularly review the business and markets to ensure they continue to offer the best possible value to our customers and to ensure they are reliant to our gross plans and objectives.”If we decide to make any changes or adjustments to our businesses following this regular review we will always consult our employees, the representatives and partner organisations first before informing any external parties.”Hewlett-Packard is one of the major employers in Renfrewshire – and also the West of Scotland.The Erskine site was opened by Compaq in 1987 and at its peak the firm employed 2500 people.But the workforce has gradually been scaled back after Hewlett-Packard took over Compaq in 2002.In February this year, 150 jobs were shed at the site when the manufacturing nightshift stopped.Trish Godman, MSP for Renfrewshire West, said today: “I am very concerned by this news. I will be seeking an urgent meeting with the company.”The Scottish Govern-ment must also meet with management and staff to plan intervention.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said it was in contact with the company.
A Renfrewshire Council spokesman said it would be getting in touch with HP bosses to find out what was going on.He added: “We have not been advised of any decision on the future of the Erskine plant.”We will be seeking to have urgent discussions with the company, along with Scottish Enterprise, to clarify the future of the plant.”If a closure decision was announced that would be a serious blow to the local and indeed national economy, particularly at a plant which has been at the forefront of IT manufacturing in the area for 20 years.”The council, along with other agencies, would do everything possible to help workers facing unemployment get back into the workforce.”
HP’s boss predicted success
IN 2002, hot on the heels of the company’s takeover of rivals Compaq, 650 jobs were cut at HP’s plant at Erskine.The move was part of a bid to shed 6000 employees from the California-based corporation’s European operation.The year before that 700 workers had been let go at the same site.The work carried out at Erskine was moved to Hon Hai, a Taiwanese company based in the Czech Republic.After that similar announcements from Lexmark, Inventec and Sanmina-SCI resulted in more than 1600 redundancies in Scotland’s technology industry.In 2007 Hewlett-Packard’s UK managing director Steve Gill said: “We are committed to Scotland and we believe that manufacturing has a future here.”The standard-issue PC has become a commodity, and the realities of the global marketplace mean that basic models will be produced in the East.”But when it comes to specialist upgrades, personal configuration and custom builds, the European market requires a production base in close proximity.”Given its track-record, I see no reason why Scotland can’t do well as a producer of high-tech goods and services at the top end of the market.”
Area will be hit by knock-on effect
CANDY MUNRO, chief executive of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce warned the potential job losses would affect the area badly.She said: “This would not be good for the area and it would be dreadful to see any jobs going, particularly on such a high scale.”We would be very sorry to see this happen.”