98 job losses at Ipswich plant

WORKERS in Ipswich have today suffered a blow after it was announced that 98 jobs are going at Agilent Technologies.Workers at the plant, on the Whitehouse Industrial Estate, were told of the news today and a redundancy consultation programme is now set to swing into operation.

By MARK BULSTRODE

mark.bulstrode@eveningstar.co.uk

WORKERS in Ipswich have suffered another blow after it was announced that 98 jobs are going at Agilent Technologies.

As announced on The Evening Star website yesterday , employees at the plant, on the Whitehouse Industrial Estate, were told of the news and a redundancy consultation programme is now set to swing into operation.

These job cuts are the latest in a down-sizing process being carried out by the company through its worldwide operation and bring the total losses to 4,000 – 350 of those in Ipswich in just over a year.

Bill Savage, vice president and general manager Network Solutions Business Units, told The Star that the redundancies – which will be across all levels – would be a mixture of voluntary and involuntary.

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"Agilent continues to do business in a very difficult market, he said. "The downturn in the industry is unprecedented and we have had to act accordingly.

"What we are doing is aligning our cost structure with the new business situation with the reduced levels of business in which we find ourselves in."

Employees at the plant will be asked to vote for their own representatives next week to put their views across to bosses.

He said the company needed to generate a break-even revenue of £1.03 billion a quarter and this required the company to make savings of £32.24 million per quarter.

Mr Savage said: "We stated to our employees that we have to do a mixture of short term cost cutting but we are keeping our core capabilities."

Despite announcing the job losses, Agilent bosses claim they remain committed to continuing to operate from Ipswich.

"There are no plans to close our operation in Ipswich. This is just to keep our costs within our business levels," said Mr Savage.

The 350 staff at the plant were told of the news at a meeting this afternoon .

Mr Savage, who broke the news to staff, said: "The staff took the news in the same way as me – they were naturally disappointed. People have worked for many years and contributed to the growth of the site.

"These are great people and it's naturally disappointing that the business situation means we have to do this.

The American-based company has two plants in the UK, with the other based in Scotland. The majority of jobs at the Ipswich plant centre around research and development into opto-electric components and their manufacture. This includes lasers and photo diodes.

Mr Savage said job losses are being experienced across the company and are shortly due to be announced at the Scotland plant. Job losses have already been announced at many American plants.

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