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Tuesday, 18 December, 2001, 09:55 GMT
NEC cuts jobs and shuts plant
NEC plant
The plant will close by the end of March next year
Electronics firm NEC has confirmed that it plans to shut its Livingston plant with the loss of more than 1,000 jobs.

The company said its semiconductor operation in West Lothian would close by the end of March next year.

Earlier this year the company announced 600 redundancies at the plant as part of worldwide cutbacks.

It is proposed that all of the 1,260 employees will be made redundant by March 2002

In a statement on Tuesday, the company said the latest move was part of a global restructuring programme due to the downturn in demand for semiconductors.

The company ceased production of D-RAM chips, which power personal computers, earlier this year and said production of its advanced LSI chips would now stop at the site.

NEC Semiconductors UK Ltd (NECSUK) said it would work to help staff find jobs.

Workers were told the news as they arrived at the plant on Tuesday morning.

A spokesman said: "In line with NEC's suspended production, it is proposed that all of the 1,260 employees will be made redundant by March 2002.

Micro chips
All production will cease
"NECSUK will extend the existing teams currently working in partnership with government agencies and others to provide consultancy services to advise and assist employees in receiving training and securing new jobs."

The announcement was a further setback for West Lothian in a year which saw more than 3,000 jobs go at the Motorola plant in Bathgate, alongside the earlier losses at Livingston.

West Lothian Council provost, Joe Thomas, said: "Today's announcement that NEC plan to mothball the local plant is a massive blow to West Lothian.

"NEC have been a major employer in West Lothian for many years and this is a devastating situation, particularly for the loyal workforce. It is really sad news at this time of year."

Willie Dunn, the council's economic spokesman, said: "We are still dealing with the impact of the Motorola factory closure at Easter Inch and this is a bad end of the year for West Lothian and Scotland.

Senior official

"We will be seeking urgent talks with the NEC management to see if we can offer any assistance in a very difficult situation."

Enterprise Minister, Wendy Alexander, said: "The closure is due to a global downturn with the result that operations are being reduced across the world, not just Scotland."

The minister said a senior official from her department at the Scottish Executive had recently met the company "at the highest level".

"Our main concern must be to try to ensure that everything possible is done to assist those affected find alternative employment, she added.

Willie Dunn
Willie Dunn: "Seeking urgent talks"
Scottish National Party enterprise spokesman, Andrew Wilson, said the decision was "desperate news" coming just a week before Christmas.

He added: "This is the latest symptom of the manufacturing recession that has hit Scotland and put thousands on the dole.

"The Scottish Executive continues to claim everything is all right in the Scottish economy. Any NEC workers will tell you just how wrong they are."

Danny Carrigan, Scottish secretary of the Amalgamated Engineering and Electronics Union, said: "It's terrible news for a small community, especially at this time of year. But it doesn't really come as a surprise.

"People thought the telecoms pot of gold would go on forever but it wasn't so."

Mr Carrigan said the union would seek talks with NEC to ensure the best possible redundancy packages for staff and assist them in getting new jobs.

Hayley Millar reports
"The factory has become a victim of a worsening slump"
See also:

31 Jul 01 | Scotland
NEC cuts 600 Scottish jobs
27 Jul 01 | Scotland
NEC confirms job cuts
27 Jul 01 | Business
Fujitsu and NEC profits slide
31 Jul 01 | Scotland
Reaction to NEC job losses
26 Jul 01 | Scotland
Fresh fears for 800 NEC jobs
11 Jul 01 | Scotland
NEC chief in jobs talks
10 Jul 01 | Scotland
Fears over 800 chip plant jobs
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