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 user 2009-05-29 at 12:19:54 pm Views: 97
  • #22175
    scotland :850 factory jobs axed
    Hi-tech giant blames slump
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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
    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
    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.”