Job losses at Philips bad news for Hamilton
I was shocked and dismayed to hear that electronics manufacturer Philips is planning to lay off 40 workers at its lamps and luminaries factory in Hamilton.
According to Philips, the redundancies are necessitated by the transfer of some product lines to factories in Poland (where the cost of labour is presumably cheaper).
I would expect Philips to have explored all alternatives to redundancy; if they have not, I urge them to do so.
Whatever the reason behind the job cuts, my primary concern is for the employees affected. I have spoken to representatives at Philips, and I understand that they hope the majority of redundancies will be voluntary.
Whilst this is a positive development, responsibility lies with the Scottish Government and Finance Minister John Swinney to ensure that arrangements are in place to give workers seeking alternative employment the appropriate advice and support.
First and foremost, representatives from PACE and Skills Development Scotland must be on hand to give counsel during the redundancy period.
The welfare of workers apart, the redundancies are obviously a blow to the local economy, especially during this period of economic adversity. From a historical perspective, it is sad to observe the continuing diminution of Philips as a major employer in the Hamilton area.
This notwithstanding, the Scottish Government must now do all it can to boost the local and national economies, and to ensure that people across Central Scotland have access to a range of employment opportunities.