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In Brief: Pringle Revies Scottish Factory… Ports Pact Expires…

Pringle of Scotland has entered into a formal consultation process with British workers' union GMB.

– PRINGLE REVIEWS SCOTTISH FACTORY: Pringle of Scotland has entered into a formal consultation process with British workers’ union GMB after a major review of its manufacturing operations in Hawick, Scotland. The company said Tuesday that the indications from the review were that operations at Pringle’s factory in Hawick, which produces heavy knitwear, may cease. The consultation process is expected to take around 30 days. The company said the proposal could affect up to 80 jobs at the factory. Other jobs located in Hawick, including those in Pringle’s head office, its financial division and its customer relations department, will not be affected. “We are considering ways to improve the performance of the business and closure of the manufacturing operation at the plant is, very regrettably, something we must consider,” said Douglas Fang, chief executive of Pringle. Fang added Pringle had evolved since the Fang family business, S.C. Fang & Sons Co. Ltd., acquired the brand in 2000. Ready-to-wear is an increasingly important part of the company’s business, Fang said, with less customer demand for heavy knitwear.

– PORTS PACT EXPIRES: The six-year contract between the West Coast shippers and union workers expired Tuesday. The Pacific Maritime Association and the 26,000-member International Longshore and Warehouse Union are negotiating on wages, benefits packages, technological advances and conditions of employment. The union’s strike plans were unclear if a stalemate persists. Recent progress, notably a tentative agreement on health benefits announced last month, has generated optimism that the West Coast ports would not see a repeat of the 10-day lockout in 2002 that caused an estimated $15 billion loss to the U.S. economy. A contract would cover union members at 29 ports in Washington, Oregon and California, home to the nation’s largest ports at Long Beach and Los Angeles.