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Last Updated: Monday, 29 January 2007, 20:04 GMT
'Callous' company cuts 420 jobs
Workers outside the Simclar factory in Irvine
Simclar has 2,100 employees worldwide
A union has accused a manufacturing company of acting like a Victorian mill owner after 420 staff lost their jobs with immediate effect.

The Simclar Group closed two factories at Irvine and Kilwinning in Ayrshire without warning.

The firm said it had been unable to remain competitive due to pressure from low cost economies and falling orders.

Community, a union representing Simclar workers, said a loyal workforce had been treated callously.

Scottish regional secretary Willie Paterson said workers in Kilwinning had turned up to find the factory gates padlocked.

He said those in Irvine were escorted to the canteen, told that they were being made redundant and then escorted off the premises.

Mr Paterson said: "In this day and age there is absolutely no excuse for treating a high-skilled, highly-motivated and loyal workforce so callously.

"Simclar management have acted more like Victorian mill owners than responsible 21st century business people."

Community said it would attempt to make sure that members received the pay they are owed.

'Impossible' situation

A Simclar spokesman said: "The current market conditions have made the continued operation of Simclar (Ayrshire) impossible.

"Simclar has made every attempt to restructure and save the business but it would not be in the best interests of the group as a whole to continue to do so in the long-term.

This is a human tragedy for the families involved
Irene Oldfather MSP

"The company will work with the local enterprise and employment agencies to offer information and support to those affected by this closure in their search for new employment."

Allan Wilson, deputy minister for enterprise, said: "This is devastating news for those who will lose their jobs and their families.

"Full and immediate support will now be made available.

"This will offer a wide range of support, advice and assistance to those Simclar employees made redundant and not quickly finding alternative employment."

Local MP Brian Donohoe said news of the job losses was a great shock.

He said: "Naturally this is a real hit for the constituency but I am confident it will not undermine its established reputation as a favourable business location."

Irene Oldfather, MSP for Cunninghame South, said: "This is very bad news for the local economy.

"It is going to be quite a challenge to retrain and upskill these people and get them back into work.

"This is a human tragedy for the families involved."

Long-term recovery

Simclar (Ayrshire) will now be placed in administration.

Jim Mather MSP, the SNP's enterprise spokesman, said: "This is devastating news for those affected.

"Ministers must now use all the powers at their disposal to support these skilled workers in finding alternative employment opportunities."

Scottish Conservative enterprise spokesman Murdo Fraser said it was a serious blow for the Ayrshire economy.

He said: "I call on the Lib-Lab pact to take steps to reduce the costs of doing business in Scotland and give our manufacturing sector a much needed boost, such as an aggressive purge of red tape and the de-nationalisation of Scottish Water so as to drive down charges.

"Only then can we hope to see the long-term recovery of our valuable manufacturing base, which has been further damaged by today's announcement."

Simclar Group has facilities in Europe, the US, Mexico and China and employed about 1,800 people worldwide.

The group said its site in Dunfermline, where 300 workers are employed, would continue to operate.

Workers react to the news

Electronics plant cuts 240 jobs
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12 Feb 06 |  Scotland

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