'WE'VE WORKED our guts out at this plant and over the years they've made millions from us. Now because they want to make even more money they're throwing us on the streets.' That was Andy's angry reaction this week. He is one of 500 workers sacked by Fullarton Computer Industries at Gourock, Inverclyde.
The workforce were supposed to return to work this week. Instead they find themselves locked out and sacked. The closure gives a chilling foretaste of what may be in store for other workers this year as recession bites.
Fullarton assembles PCs in Gourock for the company Sanmina, which in turn is a contractor to IBM. Fullarton (which has several other plants in addition to Gourock) was bought by Simclar International for a knockdown price last August. Many workers believe the strategy was always to savage jobs. Simclar boss Sam Russell won an award as one of the Scottish 'Entrepreneurs of the Year' for 2002.
Fullarton workers struck last year in an effort to win their first pay rise for four years. Now they are told that this has made them 'uncompetitive'. The ISTC union, which got into Fullarton because of workers' struggles, has denounced the closure.
But it has not called for the strikes and occupations that could make the company think again, and would put immense political pressure on New Labour in Edinburgh and London.
The day after the Fullarton closure was announced IBM said it was transferring hundreds of its workers in the same area to Sanmina, threatening their long-term future.