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Timex closes Dundee factory: Company leaves city after bitter dispute

TIMEX last night wound up its Dundee factory, scene earlier this year of the worst picket-line violence since the miners' strike in 1984.

The closure, which came earlier than had been planned, caught union officials on the hop. Sacked workers were setting off to picket a Timex factory in France.

A spokesman said Timex Electronics Corporation deeply regretted ending its presence in Dundee after 47 years. The company had announced it expected to end its operations at the Harrison Road plant by Christmas, but said yesterday that the shift that ended at 6pm would be the last. The plant will not re-open today, which is not a Bank Holiday in Scotland.

The final closure comes six months after the factory's unionised hourly-paid workers went on strike and were locked out in February. The action came after the management proposed a wage freeze, reduction in fringe benefits and a programme of lay-offs.

During the bitter dispute which followed, Timex took on a new workforce and bussed workers through picket lines.

Last week, 25 redundancies reduced the number of employees to just 70 in a company which employed 5,000 in Dundee in the 1970s. The factory's equipment has been sold to businesses throughout Europe.

Last night, John Kydd, district secretary of the engineering union AEU, said the campaign for a boycott of Timex products would go on.

Campbell Christie, general secretary of the Scottish TUC, said: 'We regret the loss of another manufacturing facility in Scotland. I believe that the lesson to be learned from this is that good industrial relations require management to deal properly with their workforces.'