Blair intervenes to prevent 3,000 mobile job losses

Government acts to prevent Motorola job losses

Prime minister Tony Blair has made a personal plea to Motorola amid fears the firm is poised to announce the closure of a mobile phone manufacturing plant in Scotland, with the loss of 3,000 jobs.

An announcement,expected from the company on Wednesday, is now likely to be delayed until next week. A spokeswoman for the Scottish Executive is reported to have described the future of the factory, at Bathgate in West Lothian, as bleak.

Motorola has just announced that it made a loss of over $200m (£140m) in the first quarter of 2001 -- greater than analysts had feared.

ZDNet reported last month that the Bathgate manufacturing plant was going to suspend production for two weeks over Easter. This break is currently underway, but back in March the company insisted that the factory had a bright future and forecast that production levels would increase towards the end of 2001.

Motorola is under pressure to cut costs to survive the slump in the mobile sector. Since December it has cut 22,000 jobs worldwide, including 700 from its factory in Swindon.

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