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400 jobs at risk as pharmaceutical firm considers Livingston plant's future

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson and Johnson is in talks with ministers over the future of a Scottish plant employing some 400 workers.

Both the UK and Scottish governments are in discussions with the New Jersey-based company regarding its Ethicon facility in Livingston, West Lothian.

The trade union Unite said the potential closure of the plant was "shocking news" that would be "heartbreaking" for staff members.

Holyrood Economy Secretary Keith Brown said the firm had announced it was entering into a consultation period with workers over the future of the facility.

Mr Brown said "T his places around 400 jobs at risk and I know this will be an extremely anxious time for the company's employees and their families.

"My thoughts are very much with those individuals at this worrying time."

Scottish Government ministers, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and enterprise agencies north of the border had been in discussions with Johnson and Johnson, with Mr Brown stating: " That work has been detailed and intensive, looking at what we can do both to help address immediate business challenges and to maximise the site's future potential.

"Unfortunately, despite our very best efforts, the company has decided to enter into consultation on possible site closure, which is hugely disappointing.

"Johnson and Johnson have confirmed to us that this is part of a global restructuring of its medical devices business and that Scotland remains a good place to invest.

"Our focus now is on working with Johnson and Johnson to try to find a new owner for the site and on doing all we can to support the affected staff through this difficult period."

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said the announcement marked a "difficult and uncertain time for the workers, families and the community in Livingston".

He added: " The UK Government has been working closely with Johnson and Johnson and the Scottish Government to find a solution that will protect as many jobs as possible.

"Ministers will continue to hold discussions to help secure the future of the site."

Unite regional officer Derek Ormston said: "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 throughout this consultation process.

" 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 the workers."

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