Plant victim of £1bn cost cuts

400 jobs axed as medical plant Ethicon closes

EthiconFour hundred jobs are being axed with the closure of a Scottish medical products factory.

Workers at the Ethicon manufacturing site at Kirkton, Livingston, were being told today that the plant will shut over the next 18 months.

It has been selected for closure from four worldwide facilities in the Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices (JJMD) division as a result of excess capacity and technological advances.

The company unveiled a restructuring plan in January last year which involved a cut in the global workforce of Medical Device’s business of between 4% and 6%, saving up to $1 billion in operating costs.

Daily Business understands that performance was not an issue in the closure decision, but Livingston’s labour costs are higher than those at other sites in Brazil, Mexico and Texas.

Some of those affected at Livingston may be offered alternative jobs at J&J plants across the UK.

The Unite trade union, as well as government agencies have been informed of the announcement.

The company has had a presence in the Lothian area for 70 years and has been at its present site since the 1990s.

It has been a vital cog in Scotland’s life science sector which is one of the key industries targeted for growth by Scottish Enterprise.

In a statement, the company said: “The global restructuring is designed to strengthen JJMD’s go-to-market model, accelerate its pace of innovation, further prioritise key platforms and geographies, and streamline operations while maintaining high quality standards and customer service.

“The company’s consumer medical devices businesses, vision care and diabetes care, are not impacted by these proposed actions.”  

The statement added: “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.

“The company is working in close cooperation with regional and local works councils and unions regarding the proposed actions.”

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