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Motorola to offload half its Birmingham staff

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Motorola is poised to axe half the staff at its design facility in Birmingham, as the mobile company tries to turn around its beleaguered mobile devices division.

All the 121 staff at the facility were told Tuesday they are "at risk of redundancy". Motorola is proposing to make half of them redundant and said it may close the site.

Motorola's loss-making mobile devices division has been in turmoil recently and its revenues have been tumbling. Two executives from the division, including the head of mobile devices for EMEA, departed over the weekend, following the exit of the company's head of mobile last week.

The division's fourth quarter sales - its latest results - were down 38 per cent compared with a year earlier.

In a statement released today, Motorola said: "Since the beginning of 2007 Motorola has been public about its commitment to returning the company's Mobile Devices business to its market-leading position by improving profitability, driving product portfolio enhancements and rationalising costs.

"As a result it is proposed that the Birmingham site will need to reduce headcount by approximately 50 per cent which may potentially require the closure of the site.

"Therefore, all employees will initially be placed at 'risk of redundancy' whilst alternative opportunities including redeployment, relocation, flexible working/home working or the opportunity of a 'service site' arrangement are investigated as part of the consultation process."

The company said it would consult employees on the proposed redundancies over the next 90 days. The cuts would likely follow soon after.

The Birmingham facility is a Design Centre, so most of the job losses will be among technical staff.

A company spokesperson said cagily that Motorola would not be invoking job losses at the company's other UK sites.

Facilities in Basingstoke, Cambridge and Livingston are also part of the mobile devices division. The spokesperson said: "The announcement made today is related to Birmingham."

When pressed on whether it would affect the other sites, she said: "So far the answer would be no."

Motorola has this year already laid off 155 people at Cambridgeshire-based TTPCom, a business which it acquired two years ago. ®

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