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500 computer jobs cut in merger.

Five hundred computer jobs are to be axed across Scotland.

The move comes after the pounds 5.4billion merger between Compaq and Digital.

One factory in Stirling is to close and hundreds of workers at three other plants are to be transferred between sites.

But the Digital plants in Irvine and Ayr have been saved from closure.

The Irvine factory which employs 600 was widely tipped to shut and although it will stop making personal computers 350 service jobs will be moved there.

Personal computer production in Scotland will now be centralised at Compaq's plant in Erskine, Renfrewshire

The service department will be moved from there to Irvine. Of the newly- merged company's four Scottish factories only the smallest - Tandem Computers in Stirling, which employs around 100 people - will close.

Cunninghame South MP Brian Donohoe said: "While this latest news is not as bad as it could have been it is still another major blow.

"It is particularly bad news for the many young people who work at Digital."

He plans to meet Compaq bosses and Scots industry minister Brian Wilson.

Mr Donohoe said: "We must get more inward investment in this area. I will be pressing for further assistance."

Compaq, the world's second biggest computer company, will still employ more than 3500 people in Scotland.

European vice-president George Devlin said: "We greatly regret any job losses but in streamlining we have to reduce our workforce.

"The new combined organisation will provide Scotland with a more competitive operational base and should ensure greater potential for growth."

Full details of where the 500 job losses will come from won't be known for several weeks.

But it wasn't all jobs gloom yesterday as British Telecom announced new work for 400 people.

The jobs are at their Bothwell Street call centre in Glasgow and the new staff will work in the telemarketing programme which tells customers about extra services.

Forty of the jobs will be full time, with the rest part-time, initially on six- month contracts.

More help for long-time unemployed was also announced yesterday. The Government are extending their New Deal scheme to people over 25 who have been out of work for more than two years.

They will be offered help in finding a job, training and grants - but face having their benefits stopped if they refuse to take part.

It is expected to help around 15,000 Scots and firms like Sainsbury's, Tesco, Asda, B&Q and the National Grid said they would take on recruits.

Employers will be paid pounds 75 a week for up to six months for everyone they take on under the programme.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 30, 1998
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