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Last Updated: Friday, 2 February 2007, 18:20 GMT
Sacked staff storm Ayrshire plant
Simclar protesters
Protesters gather outside Simclar's factory in Irvine
Workers sacked by a Scottish manufacturing firm have stormed a factory to stage a protest.

Simclar announced on Monday it was closing two of its Ayrshire plants, in Irvine and Kilwinning, with the loss of 420 jobs.

During a protest outside the Kilwinning site, the factory doors were opened and up to 60 workers ran inside.

Demonstrators said they were holding a peaceful protest over their "disgraceful" treatment by the company.

The protesters, who are members of the trade union Community, said they would not leave until they were offered better redundancy packages.

By the evening about 20 former employees remained in the factory.

Police were called but made no arrests.

Willie Paterson, Scottish regional secretary of Community, said: "Simclar appears to have no shame about how it is treating the loyal, highly-skilled workforce in Ayrshire, many of whom have up to 18 years' service with the company."

The redundancies were perpetrated with scant regard for the workers involved
Grahame Smith
STUC general secretary

Dunfermline-based Simclar blamed pressure from low-cost economies, falling orders and increased uncertainty within the Scottish manufacturing sector.

Solidarity MSPs Rosemary Byrne and Tommy Sheridan joined workers and were negotiating with administrators at the Kilwinning site.

Ms Byrne said: "The workers at Simclar have been treated disgracefully and are determined to fight for their jobs and their rights."

About 100 former employees of the Simclar Group, along with politicians, are also staging a protest outside the company's factory in Irvine.

The Kilwinning site's administrators Kroll said it was aware of the situation at the factory.

In a statement it said: "We are in discussions with all parties concerned to resolve it."

A Simclar Group spokesman said it had tried to keep the Ayrshire plants "viable".

Company's failure

He said: "Simclar Ayrshire had experienced significant difficulties and had lost several key contracts with major customers.

"These losses - combined with competition from low-cost economies, rising raw materials costs and high-fixed costs - meant the financial liabilities in Ayrshire were such that Simclar Group could not sustain them any longer."

Central Ayrshire Labour MP Brian Donohoe gave the demonstrators his full backing.

He said: "Simclar's workforce has occupied the plant to demonstrate against the company's failure to meet its responsibility in paying redundancy money."

STUC general secretary Grahame Smith said the anger of Simclar workers was entirely understandable.

"The redundancies were perpetrated with scant regard for the workers involved or the redundancy legislation designed to protect them," he said.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Former workers demand more redundancy pay



SEE ALSO
Job cuts boss attacks McConnell
01 Feb 07 |  Glasgow and West
'Callous' company cuts 420 jobs
29 Jan 07 |  Glasgow and West
Electronics plant cuts 240 jobs
22 Nov 06 |  Glasgow and West
Workers 'shocked' at factory cuts
12 Feb 06 |  Scotland

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