NEC Semiconductor is cutting 600 jobs at its facility in West Lothian, Scotland — around 40% of the plant's 1600 staff. The company blames the continuing slump in the semiconductor market.
The fab had already sped up its planned withdrawal from the DRAM market but continuing difficulties will now see West Lothian slash output from 28000 to 15000 wafers a month by the end of the year.
Hideto Goto, MD of NEC Semiconductors UK, said in a statement: "I deeply regret the necessity to reduce staff numbers at the facility. This is the first such action by the company during its 20 year history in Livingston. However, the current global semiconductor trading situation is widely considered to be the worst ever encountered by the industry and I see no indication of any real upturn in the foreseeable future."
The announcement, which had been widely rumoured for several weeks, is the latest in a series of redundancies within Scottish electronics sector.
Danny Carrigan, Scottish regional secretary of the AEEU, said: "We're reeling from one bad news story to another. People are asking when will it come to end. It's another bad day for Silicon Glen and UK manufacturing."
Carrigan called on Scottish enterprise minister, Wendy Alexander, to help any NEC workers made redundant to find new jobs. He wants the role of the employment task force set up deal with the Motorola closure in Bathgate extended to cover NEC.
The level of the NEC redundancies, although smaller than Bathgate's, could have a more serious impact on the region's economy as the company sources many of its components locally. Shin-Etsu Handotai, a wafer manufacturer, employs 700 people in Livingston and is a major supplier to NEC.