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Fife

Call for Glenrothes firm to be “transparent” over jobs

May 5 2017

A Fife MSP has called on one of the region’s leading employers to come clean over potential job losses. Electronics firm Raytheon has confirmed that is considering “efficiency measures” at its Glenrothes plant as part a continuing evaluation of its business. However, the multinational has refused to give further details on its plans and the number of posts potentially affected by any reshuffles. Willie Rennie, MSP for North East Fife, said that the company should publicly state its intentions. “Raytheon and its predecessor company have been a solid employer for Fife for many, many years,” he said. “They need to be open and transparent about its plans for the future. “Everyone in the community will want to do what it can to protect jobs for the area, good quality jobs that are at the core of the local economy.” Raytheon’s Glenrothes plant employs around 600 workers and is the US-owned firm’s only UK production site for advanced electronics. A leader in its field, the systems developed at Raytheon’s Fife facility are used in some of the world’s most advanced weapons, including Tomahawk missiles utilised by both the US and UK militaries. Its other UK facilities, based at Broughton, Lincolnshire and Gloucester, focus on aviation and software development. While it is unknown how many posts may be affected by the company’s review of its Glenrothes operation, a spokesperson said it would not be releasing further information at this time. A statement said: “Raytheon UK is continually considering efficiency measures in order to enhance our competitiveness in our chosen markets. “To enable us to deliver business growth, we need to shape our organisation appropriately and therefore align our resources, investments and talent. “We are discussing some plans with our employees that would be designed to further improve manufacturing efficiencies throughout the business. “As that internal process is ongoing, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time.”

Business news

Raytheon gives Glenrothes pledge

July 21 2015

Raytheon, the fifth-largest arms firm in the world, said Glenrothes will continue to be an important site in its UK operations for the foreseeable future. The electronics systems it produces are some of the most advanced in the world especially in silicon carbide technology, which is revolutionising semiconductors by allowing power electronics to run more efficiently. Raytheon is one of the Glenrothes area’s biggest private-sector employers as the workplace for almost 600 people. The Fife town has been the US-owned weapons manufacturer’s sole UK production site for advanced electronics for 18 months. Its history with the company stretches 50 years, and UK production was concentrated on it to improve efficiency. Elsewhere in the UK, Broughton is Raytheon’s site for systems integration work, in particular for the Astor (Airborne Stand-Off Reconnaissance) programme. Harlow and Waddington are design-and-build facilities for air traffic management, identification and jam-resistant navigation systems. Raytheon also opened a £3 million cyber centre near Britain’s intelligence-gathering centre GCHQ in Cheltenham. Raytheon UK generate about £400m a year and last year won a £95m contract with Israel to make Tamar missiles for its Iron Dome defence system, which stops rockets fired from Gaza. The UK Government lifted restrictions on arms sales to Israel following a review of export licences for arms which may have been used in the bombing of Gaza. A Raytheon spokesman said: “Glenrothes is important to us and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.”

Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

Fife

Fresh call to cease Israel arms sales after Gaza bomb linked to Fife

August 11 2014

There have been renewed calls for Westminster to suspend arms sales to Israel following reports that bombs raining on Gaza may be partly made in Fife. Humza Yousaf, the Scottish Government Minister for External Affairs and International Development, said: “We must be certain that any military equipment from Scotland and the UK is not being used in violation of international safeguards to ensure we are not complicit in any heinous actions.” His plea comes as fears grow that Israeli bombs killing civilians on the ground are fitted with laser-guidance systems which were made in Scotland. It has been suggested that bombs with such laser systems like those made by international company Raytheon at its plant in Glenrothes have been photographed falling on communities in Palestine. A Paveway II weapon can be seen in the images and Raytheon, one of the world’s biggest arms firms, are one of only two companies to make that smart bomb. Sites around the globe, including Fife, make components for Raytheon’s products, which are then assembled in America. Mr Yousaf said: “There are claims military equipment containing parts made in UK are being used against residents of Gaza. That is why earlier this week I called for an immediate suspension of UK arms sales to Israel while an investigation takes place.” He added: “It is hard not to be moved by reports of the distressing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Every day we hear of more ordinary people, many of them children, whose lives are being torn apart as their homes, schools, beaches and hospitals are obliterated. “As a Government, we are adding our voice to those in the international community calling for an immediate, longer term ceasefire to put an end to the violence in Gaza, which is causing so many civilian deaths and injuries.” Around 2,000 Scottish supporters of Palestinian rights took part in a rally at the Mound in Edinburgh on Saturday as part of a day of protest by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. The Scottish Government has already provided £500,000 to help those in Gaza and Scottish hospitals “are there to treat those who need specialist care”. Mr Yousaf said he was proud to see Scots condemn the escalating violence and encouraged people to text DONATE to 70000 to give £5 to Disasters Emergency Committee’s Gaza Crisis Appeal.

Fife

Hundreds of Gaza protesters march on Glenrothes Raytheon factory

August 18 2014

Hundreds of protesters marched on a Glenrothes factory calling for an end to the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction in the town. More than 200 protesters from across Scotland assembled outside Fife Council’s HQ before marching on the Raytheon plant in the town on Saturday. The event was organised by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) after reports the electronics factory produces weapon components that are contributing to the killing of thousands of people in Gaza. The firm makes navigation units for the Paveway II laser-guided bombs which have been dropped on Gaza by Israel. The crowd marched peacefully from Fife House, where the Palestinian flag flew for a week as the local authority sought to raise awareness of the suffering in Gaza. Speaking to the gathered crowd, Bill Mair of the SPSC said: “Our message today to Raytheon is no arms to Israel not in my name, not in my country, not in my town, not in Fife, not in Dundee, not from Perth, not from Edinburgh.” Two weeks ago Kirkcaldy hosted its own March for Gaza and more than 700 people turned out to show support and solidarity to the families in Gaza, with Dunfermline Labour MSP Cara Hilton among them. At the Glenrothes event she said: “Two weeks ago in Kirkcaldy we marched in solidarity of the people of Gaza. We marched in condemnation of Israel’s brutal attacks on families and innocent children. “Today is not just about extending our support and solidarity, today we are here to show our anger that arms and military equipment made in Scotland, in Fife, here in Glenrothes, has been and continues to be used against the women, men and children of Gaza. We are also here to show our anger that Raytheon here in Glenrothes is one of Israel’s biggest arms suppliers. “Raytheon tell us that they turn dumb bombs into smart bombs. I say all bombs are dumb bombs. There’s nothing smart about blowing up schools and hospitals, nothing smart about destroying flats, houses and whole communities.” Mick Napier of the SPSC said: “The guys who are worse than the killers are the guys in the suits who make money by supplying the weapons of mass destruction. “They don’t care as long as they get their fat bonuses and golf clubs and life of leisure. That’s even worse than hatred. I don’t like hatred, but callous indifference to mass murder is even worse. That’s what’s going on around the corner.” A Raytheon spokesperson said: “Raytheon UK respects people’s rights to peacefully demonstrate. Raytheon’s Glenrothes facility carries out component work for a wide range of Government and commercial solutions. “The company does not comment on geopolitical situations.”

Fife

Gaza demonstrators planning march on Glenrothes Raytheon plant

August 13 2014

The organisers of a march planned in Fife this weekend will stand against “weapons of mass destruction” being manufactured in Fife. Glenrothes is to host a national demonstration for Gaza on Saturday, with people from across Scotland assembling outside Fife House before marching on the Raytheon plant in the town. Called by the national executive of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC), the event comes after recent reports the electronics factory produces components for the weapons that are contributing to the killing of thousands of people in Gaza. Bill Mair, of the SPSC, said: “As Fifers and Scots, we stand foursquare against these grotesque weapons of mass destruction being manufactured in Fife, or anywhere in our country.” The demonstration will assemble on the pedestrianised area outside Fife House at 3pm on Saturday before marching to the Raytheon plant. It follows the continuation of a row surrounding Fife Council’s decision to fly the Palestinian flag over its headquarters at Fife House this week to raise awareness of and protest against the suffering and death of the people of Gaza. But the chairman of the Tayside and Fife Jewish community said it was concerned the council’s decision could “ferment” anti-Jewish sentiment in Scotland. The St Andrews Jewish Society has also questioned why the local authority had taken sides by deciding to fly only the Palestinian flag and not the Israeli flag as well. Fife Council leader David Ross has said there is a general consensus within the council that the flag should be flown as part of world-wide condemnation of the events in Gaza. Despite only one flag being flown, Mr Ross has reiterated the view of the council that the flying of the Palestine flag is “not in support of any specific organisation”. ARaytheon spokesman said: “Our Glenrothes facility does component work for a wide range of our government and commercial solutions. “We are not going to comment on geopolitical situations.”

Fife

Firms fined total of £44,000 after workers burned in horrific accident in Glenrothes

April 16 2015

A global defence contractor has been fined after two workers suffered horrific injuries in an accident at a Glenrothes plant that builds laser guidance systems for missiles. Raytheon Systems Ltd had Steven Delargey and Russell Brand, both employees of Fife firm C&F Electrical Services, carry out work that was “not essential”. They tried to replace capacitors while a high voltage electrical system was live because Raytheon did not want to interrupt production at the factory. The pair suffered horrific injuries in the accident and prosecutors stated the firm wanted to “cut costs at the expense of safety”. Their injuries were caused after one of the capacitors they were removing came into contact with a pair of live “busbars”, causing an electrical flashover that severely burned them on the face, neck and arms. Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court heard Mr Brand and Mr Delargey both had to be admitted to intensive care units for four days. Mr Delargey suffered 10% full thickness burns and was off work for almost a year and has been left with permanent scarring to his neck and face. Meanwhile, Mr Brand has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and has also been left with permanent scars. Raytheon, a worldwide defence manufacturing giant, build, among other items, laser-guidance systems for missiles at the Fife factory. Mr Delargey and Mr Brand were working as contractors at the facility replacing capacitors within a high voltage electrical distribution board. Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court heard Raytheon, which posted profits of more than £65 million in the UK alone last year, employs 560 people at the Glenrothes plant. A Health and Safety Executive probe found that the work should not have gone ahead with the distribution board live and that the job was “not reasonable”. They found there was “no urgency” for the capacitors to be replaced as they had been switched off for some time. Raytheon, and C&F Electrical Services, based in Poplar Road, Glenrothes, both pleaded guilty to two charges on indictment under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. Sheriff James Williamson fined Raytheon £24,000 and C&F Electrical Services Ltd £20,000.

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

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