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Samsung waves goodbye to 425 Teessiders

Shuts monitors plant

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Samsung is shutting down its computer monitor factory in Teesside with the loss of 425 jobs. The plant also makes microwave ovens. It shuts in April.

The Korean electronics group said that falling world prices for both products made it impossible for its Teesside plant to compete against imports from eastern Europe and the Far East.

The closure is a blow to England's North East, traditionally an area of low wages and high unemployment. Samsung says it will supply soon-to-be-ex-staff with good redundo packages and outplacement counselling.

But what about all the taxpayers' subsidies the firm has received for siting the plant in Teesside? Amicus, the trade union, reckons the Teessiders' jobs are like to be relocated to Spain and eastern Europe.

In a statement Amicus North East Regional Secretary Davey Hall said: "The workforce were informed today of the job losses without any prior warning. If they had trade union representation there would have been a proper consultation procedure. Amicus is campaigning for the government to bring in legislation that will offer stronger protection for UK workers to help stop the manufacturing jobs haemorrhage."

The trade union notes that Samsung received a government regional selective assistance grant of £450 million in 1996. That works out at more than a million pounds a job in less than seven years, which does not seem to be very cost-effective to us. Yes, we are aware of the ripple effect, creating jobs for local suppliers.

Now there will be a reverse ripple effect created by Samsung's departure. Yesterday, we reported the case of an illegal Chinese immigrant who worked for one such Samsung supplier, in Hartlepool.

Zhang Guo Hua, 40, from Heilongjiang in north-eastern China, died of a brain haemorrhage in October 2001 shortly after working a 24 hour continuous shift in the Hartlepool factory of Woo One UK. Korean-owned Woo One makes computer casings along with moulded plastics that are used in the manufacture of microwave ovens from Samsung. The factory, which opened in 1996, employ 400, according to Hartlepool Today. ®

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