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The BBC's Hayley Millar
"This is the day workers at the plant have been dreading for some weeks"
 real 56k

The BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones
"A sudden drop off in business which is affecting hi-tech businesses around the world"
 real 56k

Former SNP Leader, Alex Salmond
"It is deeply damaging news for the Scottish economy"
 real 28k

Danny Carrigan, AEEU national officer for Bathgate
"We are absolutely devastated"
 real 28k

CBI deputy director general John Cridland
"No company makes a decision like this lightly"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 24 April, 2001, 18:36 GMT 19:36 UK
Motorola to close Scottish plant
Workers leave Bathgate plant
Motorola workers leave the plant after learning its fate
Motorola has confirmed it is to close a mobile phone factory in Scotland with the loss of more than 3,000 jobs.

Workers at the Bathgate plant in West Lothian were told the news at a series of meetings on Tuesday morning.

The company is blaming the decision on a sharp fall in global demand for its mobile phones.

Prime Minister Tony Blair, who had intervened in an effort to save the plant, has described the news as a "bitter blow".

Tony Blair
Tony Blair: "Bitter blow"
The company said it had taken the decision after announcing trading losses of $200m for the first quarter of 2001, although it pledged to offer "support services" to employees in the coming weeks.

A Motorola statement said: "This proposal potentially affects all of the 3,100 employees at the site, although no final decision has yet been made.

"No other Motorola facilities in Scotland or the rest of the UK are affected by this proposal."

The US electronics giant last month announced cutbacks of up to 7,000 jobs worldwide in the personal communications sector.

"Today's proposal forms part of that action," the company said.

Motorola said it had come to the decision only after long and complex deliberations, and weighing up "a huge number" of considerations.

New Mobile
More than 3,000 people work at the plant
"Motorola has been a substantial inward investor in the UK for 34 years and expects, even if the Easter Inch facility is closed, to remain a major force in the UK electronics sector in the future," the statement added.

It acknowledged the "proposal" would cause concern for the Bathgate workforce.

The statement continued: "As you would expect Motorola is committed to providing a full range of support services to its employees throughout the coming weeks as it continues to discuss the proposal with the elected employee consultation forum."

'Kick in the teeth'

Union leaders reacted with fury to the news and demanded that Motorola hand back 20m in government grants.

Danny Carrigan, Scottish regional secretary of the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union, said: "This is a real kick in the teeth for the workers.

"The whole Bathgate community depends on that plant and the area will now be destroyed.

"Motorola should now hand back over 20m worth of grants the company has been given over the past two years.

"They are sacking the workers so we want the money back."

This plant has a great record for production, and the workforce has given a tremendous amount to the company... This is a cruel reward for their efforts and loyalty

Mary Mulligan
The local Labour MSP, Mary Mulligan, said the closure would be devastating for the area.

She said: "I am disappointed that Motorola did not react to the signs of a downturn in the market earlier, so that the impact could perhaps have been lessened.

"This plant has a great record for production, and the workforce has given a tremendous amount to the company."

She added: "This is a cruel reward for their efforts and loyalty."

The future of the factory has been in doubt since Motorola announced that it was cutting 22,000 jobs around the world last year.

Efforts to stave off closure were stepped up two weeks ago when the US electronics giant revealed it had incurred a massive trading loss for the first quarter.

An expected closure announcement was put on hold after Mr Blair made a telephone call to Motorola's chief executive, Chris Galvin.

But the company decided to press ahead with closure plans as part of a restructuring programme designed to push it back into profit.

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See also:

24 Apr 01 | Scotland
'We are not going to give up'
24 Apr 01 | Scotland
Motorola closure will hit area hard
24 Apr 01 | UK Politics
Ministers attack Motorola 'tragedy'
24 Apr 01 | Business
UK 'set to weather slowdown'
11 Apr 01 | Scotland
Customers hang up on Motorola
22 Apr 01 | Scotland
Electronics jobs fears grow
16 Apr 01 | Scotland
Warning over Motorola campaign
11 Apr 01 | Scotland
Blair tries to save Motorola plant
10 Jan 01 | Business
Motorola profits tumble
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