Coalition plans more protests at Fife factory Raytheon

Raytheon in Glenrothes
Raytheon in Glenrothes

Protestors have branded a Glenrothes factory an “industry of death” and called for the end of arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

The protest at the Raytheon plant followed a missile strike in Yemen last week, which left 51 people dead, including 40 children, and around 80 people injured.

The group, Coalition Against Raytheon, has called for the end of all weapon production at the Glenrothes plant.

It has also vowed to cause more disruptions at Glenrothes’ Raytheon factory, following the demonstration last Wednesday which it claims forced the site to be shut for around an hour.

Sean Clerkin, spokesman for the Coalition Against Raytheon, stated that the group had several aims.

“We’re calling for the production of weapons of destruction to cease,” he said, “and for it to be transferred to civilian production, such as medical instruments.

“Things that save lives rather than destroy them.”

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He says that the Coalition Against Raytheon intends to hold further protests at the site over the coming weeks.

“We’ve going to keep shutting the factory down,” he told the Gazette. “Factories like this don’t have a place in Scotland.”

Politicians have also criticised the Scottish Government and its links to the firm.

Raytheon received funding from Scottish Enterprise, the government’s economic development agency, between 2014 and 2017.

Ross Greer MSP, external affairs spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said: “The hypocrisy is just stomach churning when an SNP Government hands public cash to arms manufacturers whose weapons systems are then used to commit war crimes against children in Yemen, before giving more public cash to the Yemen Crisis Appeal.

“No donation to charity will wash the blood off their hands.

“Raytheon are the world’s largest guided missile manufacturer – they do not need public money and it’s not hard to think of hundreds of better ways to use that money than handouts to an industry built on death and destruction across the world.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government does not provide funding for the manufacture of munitions – either directly or via Scottish Enterprise.

“Licences for arms sales are provided by the UK Government and we have consistently raised concerns over the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia.”

A Raytheon spokesperson said: “Our manufacturing hub in Glenrothes is a true success story – founded more than 50 years ago and home to 700 employees, Raytheon’s facility there was the first semiconductor fabrication plant in Silicon Glen and remains one of the largest private employers in Fife.”

The spokesperson added: “We have a strategy to diversify our business, an example of this is our investment in technology that positions us to become a leading power solutions provider for both civil and military applications.

“These include leading anti-jam GPS capability and next generation air traffic management systems to powering future commercial electric aircraft.”