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Tuesday, 10 April, 2001, 10:02 GMT 11:02 UK
Unions call for rural aid
STUC
Union leaders have called for extra help
Unions want efforts to support rural jobs stepped up as the foot-and-mouth outbreak continues to spread in Scotland.

The call will come at the Scottish Trades Union Congress' (STUC) meeting in Aberdeen on Tuesday.

Unions want the number of job losses caused by the outbreak to be kept to a minimum, and are demanding adequate compensation for those affected by the crisis.

They are warning that the economic impact of foot-and-mouth will be felt far beyond farming and tourism.

Farm affected by outbreak
Help is wanted for rural areas
Unions say jobs in other sectors, like food processing and textiles, are also being hit by the spread of the disease.

The STUC wants better compensation for workers laid off as a result of foot-and-mouth.

It is also calling for a full public inquiry into the outbreak and its handling to ensure that lessons are learned for the future.

Unions are also expected to condemn recent job losses at Compaq and other electronics firms.

They say many companies are openly hostile to trade union members and will call on the Scottish Executive to give its support to workers.

On Monday, union leaders said they wanted better consultation rights before the announcement of major redundancies.

Erskine plant
Compaq is cutting 700 Scottish jobs
Computer manufacturer Compaq announced that it planned to cut 700 jobs at its plant in Erskine, Renfrewshire, through a restructuring of its business.

There are also growing fears for the safety thousands of jobs at Motorola's electronics plants in West Lothian.

The company has already shed 22,000 jobs from its worldwide operations due to a downturn in the microchip market and there is strong speculation that the Scottish jobs are on the line.

Unions pointed out that it is a legal requirement for many companies in other European Union countries to carry out a full consultation process before they can move ahead with redundancies.

This is not the case in the UK, and union leaders have called for the same workers' rights to be enshrined in law, making it more difficult for firms to cut back on workers.

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See also:

02 Apr 01 | Scotland
Compaq cuts 700 Scots jobs
09 Apr 01 | Scotland
McLeish spells out his hopes
09 Apr 01 | Scotland
Job cut plea from unions
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