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Thursday, September 30, 1999 Published at 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK

UK: Scotland

Company rings up 1,000 jobs

The Bathgate plant already employs 3,500 people

A £50m expansion by US electronics giant Motorola is to create 1,000 jobs at its central Scotland mobile phone factory.

BBC Scotland Business Repoter Hayley Millar reports from Bathgate
The new jobs at Bathgate - which were announced by First Minister Donald Dewar - will be a range of skilled and semi-skilled posts.

Massive demand for the firm's new V-series range of mobile phones, which are said to the world's smallest, is driving the investment. The mobile phone market is growing by about 40% a year.

New manufacturing lines will be added to increase the plant's output by about 50%.

'Excellent news'

The announcement is particularly welcome because it comes in the wake of two significant blows to the area's economy.

Between the closure of the Continental Tyres factory on the edge of Edinburgh and the Levi jeans plant, near Livingston, some 1,400 jobs are going to be lost.

Mr Dewar, who visited Motorola's Bathgate complex on Thursday, said: "This is excellent news for the Lothians.

[ image: Rapidly changing technology]
Rapidly changing technology
"These 1,000 highly skilled new jobs are a marvellous boost for the local and Scottish economies and brings the total number of jobs announced in the area since April to 2,500."

The first minister praised the firm's commitment to Scotland, saying that it has been in the country for 30 years and that "it puts back a staggering $900m every year into the Scottish economy".

He added: "Today's announcement is further evidence, if any were needed, that the electronics industry in Scotland is thriving and the Scottish Executive and its agencies like Locate in Scotland will continue to support it in every way possible."

'Testament to our workforce'

The company already employs more than 6,000 people in Scotland - about 3,400 in Bathgate, 3,700 at an East Kilbride semiconductors facility and a further 500 semiconductor staff in South Queensferry.

This new expansion comes just weeks after Motorola announced plans to create 200 jobs in a £60m investment to double capacity at its South Queensferry semiconductor factory, near Edinburgh.

[ image: Donald Dewar: The electronics industry is thriving]
Donald Dewar: The electronics industry is thriving
And in February it said that 400 workers at the Bathgate plant would be made permanent staff members.

The Bathgate complex will soon employ more than 4,000 people, making it one of the largest employers in Scotland.

Motorola Chairman David Brown said: "This investment here is a testament to the quality of our workforce here in Scotland and reflects our position as one of the leading global suppliers of cellular telephones.

"We will be employing highly skilled people to work on the most advanced manufacturing processes in the production of cellular telephones."

Motorola's contribution and commitment to Scotland is significant:

  • Over £300m has been invested in the Easter Inch plant at Bathgate since it opened in 1992.

  • 10% of Scotland's exports are Motorola products.

  • The company accounts for 4% of Scotland's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

  • The firm also has a plant in Swindon, England, and over the past 10 years has invested the equivalent of an average of £2m a week in the UK as a whole.

  • Internationally the firm employs about 120,000 people.

The announcement was also welcomed by David Crichton, the Chief Executive of the Lothian Enterprise Company, who said it "underlines West Lothian's role as a centre of manufacturing excellence for the new knowledge driven economy".

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