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Closure of Scottish J&J plant threatens 400 staff

Published on 10/03/17 at 10:02am

Johnson & Johnson has announced its intention to shut down its surgical suture manufacturing facility in Livingston, Scotland which sees up to 400 jobs facing the axe.  

The move is part of the company’s wider plan to streamline operations through a global restructuring effort originally announced at the beginning of last year, which planned to cut around 3,000 from its medical devices unit.

Ethicon, a subsidiary of J&J which runs the plant, is currently in talks with its parent company over the fate of its staff. The site is currently responsible for the production of around 5% of the firm’s total surgical sutures worldwide. To fill the gap left by the facility, J&J plans to relocate operations to larger plants in Texas, Brazil and Mexico.

"Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices initiated the consultation process with the regional and local works councils to propose our intent to close the Ethicon 'Kirkton' manufacturing site in Livingston, Scotland,” the company stated. “This could potentially impact approximately 400 employees, pending the outcome of the consultation process.”

"We have put forth these proposals in the interest of reducing complexity and increasing agility to better serve the needs of customers and patients in today's evolving healthcare marketplace. We carefully assessed our options and recognise our proposed plans have the potential to significantly affect our employees, their families and the local community. We are committed to supporting them through the consultation process."

Despite J&J’s wider restructuring plans, Derek Ormston, from worker’s union Unite, was keen to make clear the effect this move would have on the staff at the facility: “This is shocking news. Many of our members at Ethicon have given long years of service to the company, and to be rewarded in this way will be heart-breaking. There will also be feelings of uncertainty and anger.

"Unite will now consult with our members and work hard to defend their jobs," he continued. "We will also be looking for support from politicians and public bodies. Ethicon has received public money to support its operations in Livingston, so they have a special responsibility to workers.”

Matt Fellows

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