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Korean crisis hits Scottish construction

UP TO 750 construction workers face being laid off this week from Dumfermline's £220M Hyundai computer chip factory following a decision on Monday by its cash-hit Korean client to hold up most of the building work for four months.

But Laing Management's project director Stewart Hay insisted that work had not stopped entirely but would continue on some sections of the complex, to a significantly scaled down schedule.

'Our contract allowed for a built-in delay and this latest move is not a complete surprise,' said Hay. 'We have been having confidential talks with the client over work rescheduling and are confident the entire plant will be completed.'

Laing has 85 of its own staff on site though the vast majority of the total 1,250 workforce is employed by nearly 90 subcontractors. Hardest hit will be mechanical and electrical contractors as the factory's main steel frame shell, plus its high-tech 14,000m2 clean room, is structurally complete.

Work will continue on a three storey administration building, but not in the factory itself where Hyundai was originally due to start installing sophisticated semi-conductor manufacturing equipment costing £750M this April.

David Hayward

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