NEC's Scotland pullout threatens 450 jobs

Electronics manufacturer plans to move its manufacturing operations to China, threatening yet more Scottish high-tech jobs

Scotland's high-tech sector looks set to suffer another blow after electronics manufacturer NEC said it was planning to stop making PCs at a factory in West Lothian.

The move, the latest in a series of job cuts and plant closures to hit the region, puts over 450 jobs at risk.

NEC confirmed on Monday that it plans to move its PC-making operations to China as part of a cost-saving restructuring move. According to reports, an NEC spokesman has said that the company would look to sell the West Lothian factory, but local people fear that the plant is likely to close. It currently makes around 350,000 PCs per year, which are sold under the Packard-Bell brand.

Bristow Muldoon, the Labour MEP for Livingston, said he was very concerned by this latest economic blow to the region, but added that he was hopeful that new employment could be found for anyone affected by the move.

"I am sure that the West Lothian economy will bounce back. The vast majority of job losses have been associated with the downturn in the electronics market and it has not really been a local factor and problems with the West Lothian economy," said Muldoon, speaking to BBC Radio Scotland.

The West Lothian area suffered several factory closures last year, as high-tech companies reined in their production in response to the technology slump.

In December, NEC announced that over 1,000 jobs would be lost from a semiconductor plant in Livingston, following an earlier cull of 600 employees.

In nearby Bathgate, 3,000 workers were axed last July when mobile phone maker Motorola closed its factory despite the personal intervention of Prime Minister Tony Blair.

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