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Friday, 5 July, 2002, 07:50 GMT 08:50 UK
Aid pledged for computer workers
Compaq
Unions call the job losses a "devastating" blow
Efforts are under way to help the 650 Scottish workers who have lost their jobs at the former Compaq plant in Renfrewshire.

Over the coming weeks they will be offered one-to-one counselling, access to training opportunities, and skills-based seminars designed to get them back into work.

Management at the computer plant in Erskine said the job losses were a result of its merger with Hewlett Packard earlier this year.

The Scottish National Party's economy spokesman Andrew Wilson said it was another sign of the decline in the manufacturing sector which First Minister Jack McConnell's Scottish Executive has no power to reverse.

Hands on keyboard
Compaq merged with Hewlett Packard

The cutbacks follow Compaq's merger with Hewlett Packard two months ago.

The job losses at the Erskine plant were part of plans by Hewlett-Packard to shed 1,400 jobs in Britain.

Unions reacted to the news with shock, branding it "devastating" for workers looking forward to their summer holidays.

Danny Carrigan, Scottish regional secretary of the Amicus union, said: "We must stem the tide of manufacturing jobs being lost. This is another nail in the coffin of Silicon Glen and is bad news for the Scottish economy."

Global restructuring

The company, which has sites in London, Reading, Berkshire and Livingston, said there had been no decision where the other permanent jobs would go.

Hewlett-Packard, which currently employs about 7,600 people in Britain, said it would retain a permanent workforce of about 900 workers at the Renfrewshire plant.

The jobs to be shed comprise 450 full-time and 180 part-time posts.

The company announced a global restructuring programme at the time of the merger to reduce its combined worldwide workforce of 150,000 by 15,000 within its first 18 months of operation.

It said the implementation of any workforce reduction would be subject to prior consultation, starting on Friday.


This is another nail in the coffin of Silicon Glen and is bad news for the Scottish economy

Danny Carrigan
Amicus union
The company said it deeply regretted the impact of the plans, but it needed to build a profitable and sustainable business in the long term.

Mr Wilson said: "Our manufacturing sector is in crisis, we are bound to a low growth relative decline, and Labour do nothing.

"Scotland is suffering as a direct result and it's time for Mr McConnell to accept that he doesn't have the tools to do the job."

The Scottish Executive said it regretted Hewlett-Packard's decision, but stressed it was part of a programme of worldwide job cuts.

A spokesman said: "Support will be provided to those affected through specialist response teams who will offer advice, support and guidance in terms of retraining, upskilling and employment opportunities."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Danny Carrigan of Amicus
"We have to try to get alternative jobs as soon as possible."
See also:

04 Jul 02 | Scotland
03 May 02 | Business
02 Apr 01 | Scotland
20 Mar 02 | Business
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