IBM to shutter Greenock x86 line after sale to Lenovo - reports

MP seeks clarity, 'monitoring situation very closely'


Mystery still surrounds one of the UK's last server production outposts in the Silicon Glen amid reports of IBM shuttering the Greenock site when Lenovo acquires its x86 division.

According to local newspaper Greenock Telegraph, workers at the plant are bracing themselves for closure with manufacturing set to move to China once the sale of the volume server biz is concluded.

Employees are fearful that with only a storage line made at the facility there will be no economies of scale to keep the lights on and, "this will eventually go too," said one source quoted by the paper.

Some 7,500 staff work at IBM's System x server unit that is being transferred to Lenovo for $2.3bn. Big Blue had said it "expected" these people to be "offered employment" but gave no definitive assurances.

It is understood that around half of the workforce at IBM's PC division sold to Lenovo in 2004 didn't make the move.

MP for Iverclyde, Iain McKenzie, - who represents local constituents who work at the Greenock plant - told us he is "presently seeking to clarify matters" and "monitoring the situation very closely".

IBM, which is currently jettisoning 15k warm bodies according to unions, told us "change is a constant in our industry and transformation is a permanent feature of our business model".

"Consequently, some level of workforce remix is an ongoing part of our business. This is separate and unrelated to the announced sale of IBM's x86 business to Lenovo," the spokesman added in a statement.

The company said that given the "competitive nature" of its business it does not discuss staffing plans publicly, and IBM refused to deny it is set to make redundancies north of the border in Greenock.

Lenovo issued a canned statement on the matter, "as I'm sure you can appreciate, anything IBM is planning at the moment is not anything we are aware of.

"We have only announced our intention to buy the company and the deal isn't closed," the statement added. ®

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