ONE of Queensferry's biggest employers has announced that around half of its workforce is facing redundancy.
Agilent Technologies, a spin-off of electronics giant Hewlett-Packard, is poised to axe up to 200 jobs at the plant.
The grim announce-ment was followed this week by news that 700 manufacturing jobs will also go at an HP plant in Erskine.
Audrey Healy of Agilent in Queensferry said: "Up to 200 roles in South Queensferry are at risk of redundancy. This includes 70 employees already working their notice. In Scotland we informed employees that two of our business units are consolidating their worldwide research and development operations to gain efficiencies and lower costs."
There are 380 workers and 60 contractors at the Queensferry plant.
In April Agilent announced a re-structuring of its electronic measurement group and the loss of 2,700 jobs worldwide, affected by the global downturn.
But Audrey added: "Agilent remains committed to a presence in Scotland and anticipates a future workforce of 170-180 employees by 2010."
The company which has its headquarters in California, confirmed that some employees would be relocated within Agilent to the USA and to Asia, but they were unable to provide any figures.
Councillor Norman Work represents the Almond ward where the company is based.
He said: "This is one of the biggest employers in South Queensferry and it's sad, as we're now just a commuter town.
''People used to move to South Queensferry to work for this company and they used to have a social club in the town.
"As for those who are losing jobs, it will affect people differently. Some might be eligible for early retirement, but for those who are younger, it will be worse."
The firm, acclaimed as a world leader in researching and creating measurement instruments, said that many of the staff who are expected to lose their jobs would be leaving the company next January, giving them time to complete existing projects.
Audrey Healy added: "As part of Agilent's workforce management arrangements, Drake Beam Morin Careers Services provides career transition services for employees. Three months prior to their departure employees can start the DBM program which includes coaching, CV workshops and one-to-one sessions with career guidance experts."