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27 January 2016, 18:16
Hundreds of jobs are under threat after an electronics company announced plans for a phased closure of its plant.
Semiconductor firm Texas Instruments (TI) said the proposal would involve moving production from the Inverclyde base to sites in Germany, Japan and the United States over the next three years.
If the Greenock plant closes, 365 jobs will be impacted across manufacturing, engineering, support and management positions.
Any potential job losses were not anticipated to happen before late 2017.
Gerry McCarthy, TI Scotland site manager, said: ``Decisions like this are never easy, and we don't make them lightly.
``While the rationale for moving production out of our Greenock fab makes good business sense, we understand the impact it could have on our employees and the community. This is certainly not a reflection of the performance or commitment of our people but due to the efficiency of the site itself.
``We recognise this is difficult news, and our focus right now is on our employees and to ensure they have all of the information they need as we move forward.''
TI said the decision was taken with its global operations in mind.
A company spokeswoman added: ``Our employees have done everything they can to keep the site cost-competitive, and we strongly considered ways to improve the site's efficiency, such as upgrading or expanding the facility.
``However, even with a considerable investment, TI's factory in Greenock would be far less efficient than our other larger, more efficient fabs, which have open capacity available to absorb what's produced in Greenock.
``As part of this process, we are attempting to sell and transfer the facility as an ongoing manufacturing operation (manufacturing-related jobs, equipment, land and building).
``We are just at the proposal stage, and ending manufacturing operations is a lengthy process.''
Councillor Stephen McCabe, leader of Inverclyde Council, called the news a ``stunning blow'' to the Scottish economy.
``This announcement requires a significant response from local and national agencies. I am announcing the setting up of a dedicated task force and will be extending an invitation today to the Scottish Government, their national agencies, local councillors in the area, our regional and constituency MSPs and our MP.
``It is time to once again stand shoulder to shoulder, as we did over the highly successful Fergusons task force, and secure a future for this skilled workforce. We must also work together to ensure that national resource makes its way to Greenock to achieve that endeavour.''
SNP MSP Stuart McMillan said he had spoken with Finance Secretary John Swinney who told him the Scottish Government has been in touch with the company to offer any assistance ``to help secure a future for the factory and its employees''.
Mr McMillan added: ``This will be a very anxious time for Texas Instruments' employees and their families and is deeply concerning for everyone involved.
``The top priority now must be to find a new owner for the plant to allow the workforce and manufacturing to continue.''