Gateway pull-out: Staff have 90 days left...

As the cow goes home, the clock starts ticking for British and Irish workers...

As the cow goes home, the clock starts ticking for British and Irish workers...

Staff at Gateway's UK and Irish operations have a maximum of 90 days left to find out what their future holds for them. British and Irish workers have been told they will be consulted on likely redundancies following the company's decision to pull back to the US. The process will take between 30 and 90 days. Gateway's withdrawal looks set to reduce the firm's European operations to a skeleton staff, made up of a mixture sales and customer support workers. Gateway has around 1,250 workers in the UK and Ireland, which together represent around a half of the company's non-US workforce. Gateway has lost money in the past three quarters, hit by a slowing PC market and severe price cutting from many of its rivals such as Dell, which also manufactures PCs for the UK market in Ireland. Until 1997, the company had never announced a quarterly loss. The poor figures in October of that year prompted a major reassessment of its strategy. The company ditched the "2000" from its name, and the distinctive cowhide pattern on the company's packaging also disappeared early the following year. The pattern originated as an ironic reference to the company's bucolic origins in Sioux City, South Dakota, far from the Silicon Valley heartland of the US computer industry. The Clonshaugh site, near Dublin, where Gateway manufactures its PCs, has a troubled history. Gateway 2000 (as the company was then known) bought it from Seagate, which had acquired the site but was unable to build a factory there. The site was famously visited by US president Bill Clinton on his 1998 visit to Ireland.