JUST a year after the last round of 590 redundancies, business tycoon James Dyson has announced the end of the line for manufacturing at his Malmesbury plant.

Vacuum cleaner manufacturing operations were moved to Malaysia last year with the loss of 845 jobs.

Yesterday morning, James Dyson and his chief executive officer, Martin McCourt, told the 65 workers involved in washing machine production that their jobs were also being axed as production is moved to the Far East.

The redundancies will reduce the workforce from 2,000 last year, to just 1,200 and there are fears it may be only a matter of time before the remaining call centre, research and development and administration workers are moved to a smaller premises, or even out of Malmesbury altogether.

Malmesbury Chamber of Commerce chairman Alan Woodward has admitted he fears for the future.

He said: "I worry about what will eventually happen to the Malmesbury Dyson factory. What prospect does Dyson have here?

"This could have a very bad effect on the town.

"We certainly regret the job losses and hope there won't be any more. It is a great pity."

Town councillor, Judy Jones, agreed: "I am deeply disappointed and very, very sorry for all the workers in the factory affected by this.

"A lot of them have been very loyal to Dyson over the years.

"I don't know where these people are now going to find jobs locally."

A spokesman for Dyson said yesterday the latest redundancies were unfortunate, but gave assurances that the future of the rest of the Malmesbury site was secure.

The spokesman said: "A total of 1,200 jobs remain in Malmesbury.

"We are confident that moving our production to Malaysia will enable us to expand even further."

The spokesman said the redundancies were part of Dyson's plan to continue to expand its Research and Development Centre in Malmesbury. He said the company would be consulting with those involved and that an employee consultation committee would be elected.

He also revealed that although the 65 washing machine production jobs would be lost, they would be replaced by 70 jobs in research and development.

He added: "Dyson will do all it can to help staff find new jobs."

This latest transfer of production to the Far East comes three years after Dyson first set up a production facility in Malaysia.

Like many British manufacturing firms, Dyson has found the cost of producing its machines is far lower in the Far East, than in Britain.

But Roger Lyons, the General Secretary of Amicus, Britain's biggest private sector union, condemned the move.

He accused James Dyson of carrying out another act of industrial sabotage.

"This news is outrageous," he said.

"When he cut jobs last year, we hoped he would heed our calls for proper consultation with the workforce, the people of Malmesbury and the local council, so that a way of managing Dyson's problems could be reached without jeopardising the workforce.

"But he has just gone on to perform a second slash and grab.

"He has slashed jobs and grabbed the profits before switching production to Malaysia."

Mr Lyons continued: "In this latest round of job losses, James Dyson is just throwing even more skilled engineers on the dole, without considering that those skills are not even available in Malaysia.

"He is acting like a nineteenth century landowner, grabbing the profits, before sacking his workforce."

Earlier this year, James Dyson was presented with the Queen's Award for Innovation.

He has also been appointed to a Government committee, set up by the Department of Trade and Industry to look into ways of using innovation to boost the British economy.

Everyone knew this was coming

DESPITE Dyson's ten-year manufacturing presence in north Wiltshire, the news that all production will cease at its Malmesbury plant has been met with a sense of resignation in Malmesbury.

The 65 job losses, announced to staff in a 20 minute meeting at the Tetbury Hill plant on Wednesday, as washing machine manufacture is moved to Malaysia was the nail in the coffin for the production of Dyson products in Wiltshire that many in Malmesbury had expected.

Their worst fear now is that Dyson will move out of Malmesbury altogether.

Dyson began manufacture in north Wiltshire in 1993 when he opened his research centre and factory in Chippenham at Bumper's Farm where he manufactured his first mass production vacuum cleaner, the DC01.

The model has become the biggest selling vacuum cleaner in the UK and on the back of its success, Dyson developed two new models the DC02 and DC03.

In 1998, with Dyson's continuing strong sales, Chancellor Gordon Brown opened a new factory in Malmesbury where production of vacuum cleaners and research and development was based.

In 2000, production expanded to include a new product, the Contrarotator, the world's first washing, machine with two rotating drums, as well as the latest vacuum cleaner, the DC04 .

Further development in 2001 resulted in the new Root Cyclone Technology, also produced in Malmesbury.

But in February 2002, workers reacted in shock when the firm announced the relocation of all vacuum cleaner production to Malaysia at a plant founded there two years previously.

James Dyson defended the move at the time, saying it was necessary to free up cash to fund further research and development.

He said: "All my life I have really believed in making products here in Britain.

"In order to introduce new products enormous sums need to be spent on research, new tooling and market launches. Dyson's home remains in Malmesbury. It is where our scientists work and where our engineers bring in our new products."

The latest job cuts, with washing manufacture now also moving to Malaysia, continue that programme, said the company.

It has also employed 70 engineers and scientists for its research and development departments.

North Wiltshire MP James Gray said the job losses were extremely disappointing news. "I feel sorry for the 65 people who have been affected and for their families," he said, adding that it was becoming increasingly difficult for companies to manufacture in the UK. But he said despite the job losses there is still very low unemployment in the area.

"Dyson still employs more than 1,000 people and that is good news," he said. "They are expanding their research, which will mean a different type of person will be working there.

"But it is bad news for people on the shop floor."

Malmesbury Mayor Charles Vernon said he sympathises with those who had lost their jobs but hoped it would safeguard the 1,200 jobs still at the plant. It will obviously be a shock to the workers involved and will be very difficult for them but hopefully it will mean Dyson will have long-term future in Malmesbury," he said.

How Dyson swept up half the market

INVENTOR James Dyson grew up in Norfolk, in the grounds of Gresham's boarding school where his father taught classics.

He studied classics and art, played the bassoon and enjoyed acting. He went to London's Royal College of Art and set up his own business at the age of 28, creating a plastic lawn roller weighted with water.

After that he came up with the Ballbarrow, a lightweight wheelbarrow with a plastic ball instead of a wheel.

Mr Dyson, 54, says he spent five 'wilderness years' developing more than 5,000 prototypes for his revolutionary bagless vacuum cleaner, often in his garden shed.

In 1993, after his designs for the vacuum cleaner were rejected by Philips, Electrolux and Black & Decker, he set up Dyson Appliances in Chippenham to manufacture the machines himself.

That year saw the arrival of the Dyson DC01, retailing at around £200.

By the end of 1995 the turnover was £34.9 million and Dyson Appliances moved from Chippenham to a larger factory at Malmesbury, creating hundreds more jobs in the area.

The company says it has invested £32 million in the past two years on the Malmesbury site.

Today the company claims 50 per cent of the vacuum cleaner market, with 18 types of machine in the shops.

It has been fiercely protective of the technology behind the vacuum cleaner and has been embroiled in long-running court battles with rival Hoover to protect the patent to Mr Dyson's bagless dual cyclone design.

The company plans to clean up on washing machine sales as well, launching its twin drum Contrarotator in 2000. This later won Homes and Gardens magazine's classic design readers' award.

Mr Dyson is chairman and sole shareholder of the company.

Outside work, the father-of-three plays tennis and drives a JCB around his garden. His wife Deirdre is a painter with a rug shop in Chelsea, near daughter Emily's bedlinen shop.

Son Jacob is a designer, while younger son Sam is a rock musician.

The Sunday Times Rich List named Mr Dyson as the 37th richest man in Britain, reportedly worth more than £700 million.

In 1998, Mr Dyson was awarded the CBE, earning the accolade as a visionary as well as an inventor.

He was also appointed as chairman of the Design Museum and his firm won a place in a listing of Europe's top 500 companies.

Last year his book James Dyson's History of Great Inventions was published. It listed 500 innovative ideas, ranging from the lawnmower invented in 1830, to the pharmaceutical aphrodisiac Viagra.

Last week the company announced it had bought back the rights to market its vacuum cleaners in America, and predicted the move would create jobs, but it was not known where they would be created.