LONDON Unions and politicians in Scotland condemned moves by Hewlett Packard to close a factory in Erskine, near Glasgow, and transfer production of computers to the Czech Republic, where wage rates are substantially lower.
About 700 jobs will be impacted by the move, part of the American company’s plans to cut its 80,000-strong European workforce by 5,700 over the next two years in response to tough market conditions.
The Erskine factory makes storage devices and computers. It has operated since 1987, when it was opened by computer maker Compaq. At its peak it employed 2,500 people. Hewlett-Packard acquired Compaq in 2002.
Around 600 staff will be kept on in Erskine at a call centre and service facility.
Paisley and Renfrewshire North Labour MP Jim Sheridan branded the cuts "disgusting".
"It effectively means the company are abandoning their skilled Scottish workforce to cut costs by moving manufacturing to the Czech Republic," Sheridan added.
The move follows the ending of the nightshift at Erskine earlier this year that led to the loss of 150 jobs.
Earlier this month, the company said its second-quarter profit had fallen by 17 per cent and forecast that sales would shrink by up to 5 per cent in the year to October.
According to an HP spokesman, consultation about the job losses will start in the middle of June, and the job losses could start early next year.
Trade unions said the cutbacks were further evidence of the UK Government's lack of support for British manufacturers. John Quigley, the Scottish regional secretary for Unite, said: "When more than £900bn of public funds can be poured into bailing out banks, it is utterly unacceptable that help cannot be directed into a sector fundamental to nurturing our economic revival."
Of course HP's move is not the first that involves shifting hardware production to lower-cost based economies. For instance, Dell has just closed its Limerick manufacturing facility, with the assembly plant's functions transferred to a plant in Lodz, Poland.
And passive and interconnect devices specialst AVX recently signalled it would cut 130 jobs at its facility in Paignton, England and shift production to a plant in the Czech Republic.
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