THE decision by aerospace giant Rolls-Royce to close its plant in East Kilbride after almost 60 years will be a "devastating blow" to the South Lanarkshire town, the local MP has said.
Rolls-Royce said it was moving its aero-engine repair and maintenance operations to a more modern facility, in Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, near Glasgow Airport – along with its 600-strong workforce.
The company said the 59-year-old plant was nearing the end of its life, and said the move would take place by 2015.
The East Kilbride workforce will move the 16 miles to Renfrewshire, where 1000 people already work.
East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow MP, Michael McCann, said: "I have been advised by senior Rolls-Royce management that the East Kilbride plant will be closed and all works will be moved to their operations at Inchinnan by 2015. This is a devastating blow for East Kilbride.
"Rolls-Royce is part of the fabric of our town and most importantly generations of families from East Kilbride have provided the workforce that has made a huge contribution to the company's success. Speculation on the company's future has been rife following its decision not to move to a new site at Langlands in the town and more recently its decision to close down and mothball parts of the East Kilbride plant.
"I am extremely angry at this proposed move and I know every member of the workforce will be as furious as I am.
"East Kilbride has backed Rolls-Royce but it appears that Rolls-Royce doesn't want to back East Kilbride.
"I have made arrangements to meet trade union representatives to hear their views and I'll be supporting workers and their families in any way I can."
Rolls-Royce said the move would make the firm more efficient, improve value for customers and provide a better working environment.
Rolls-Royce East Kilbride managing director Alex McMillan said: "This is a positive development for our employees and helps to safeguard jobs. Transferring our operations from East Kilbride will enable us to maximise efficiency at the nearby Inchinnan facility, helping us to become even more competitive."
Labour MSP for Central Scotland Margaret McCulloch said: "I know that the workforce, trade unions and the community all value the contribution that Rolls-Royce has made to East Kilbride and we are not willing to let that historic relationship come to an end without a fight."