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Jamie McIvor reports
"The executive is to seek urgent reassurances"
 real 56k

Sunday, 22 April, 2001, 16:56 GMT 17:56 UK
Electronics jobs fears grow
Motorola phone with browser software
Scotland has been hit by the global downturn
The Scottish Executive is to hold talks with the American electronics giant Honeywell amid concern 750 jobs could be under threat at its factory in Motherwell.

The company is to axe 6,500 jobs worldwide and ministers want to establish quickly whether the Lanarkshire plant is to suffer.

The news deepens the gloom for the Scottish electronics sector, hit by a spate of job cut threats.

Three thousand workers at the Motorola plant in Bathgate are waiting to hear if their jobs are to go, while Matsushita said on Friday it was considering shutting a TV components plant in East Kilbride with the possible loss of 100 jobs.

Compaq announced earlier this month that it was to shed 700 jobs at its Erskine factory.

The manufacture of PCs is being transferred to Eastern Europe, and it is hoped some of the redundancies will be made on a voluntary basis.

The Renfrewshire plant will continue to manufacture made-to-order personal computers, as well as servers.

Honeywell screenshot
Honeywell has said it is cutting 6,500 jobs
Profits at Honeywell, which makes aerospace, automotive and electronic products, have fallen sharply.

It reported first quarter net income of $41m down from $506m a year earlier.

The company said it was cutting 5% of its global workforce, leading to fears that this may include job losses at the Motherwell plant.

However, unions are hopeful that the 750 staff will escape unscathed.

Workers at Motorola in Bathgate - who returned to work on Sunday after an enforced two week break - are still waiting to learn their fate.

PM intervention

The American mobile phone giant is expected to announce this week whether the Bathgate plant is to be mothballed.

Motorola chip
Motorola may decide the fate of the plant this week
The plant was saved from closure 12 days ago when Prime Minister Tony Blair stepped in.

Mr Blair held a 15-minute telephone conversation with Motorola's president, Chris Galvin, in an effort to stave off any immediate closure measures.

It was widely thought that the American telecom giant would announce the closure of the West Lothian factory as it unveiled losses of $206m for the first three months of the year.

The company has been trying to improve its financial performance by taking aggressive cost-cutting measures including the slashing of 22,000 or 15% of its jobs this year.

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See also:

16 Apr 01 | Scotland
Warning over Motorola campaign
11 Apr 01 | Scotland
Blair tries to save Motorola plant
02 Apr 01 | Scotland
Compaq cuts 700 Scots jobs
11 Apr 01 | Business
Motorola's results shock
11 Apr 01 | UK Politics
Blair's headache over job losses
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