A Dublin-based haulage firm is to cut its workforce by almost a third.
Management at Johnson Brothers, Ballymount, announced that 83 workers will lose their jobs by the end of the month. A spokesman confirmed the redundancies were a result of the company's decision to outsource its warehouse and transport operations.
"Management at Johnson Brothers, Ballymount, Dublin, have met with employees this afternoon to announce details of a significant development within the company," said the spokesman. "The new arrangements will regrettably necessitate 83 redundancies at the company's warehouse and transport operations with the outsourcing of this function to an external provider."
He added that discussions with employee representatives are to begin immediately. The job losses will see the firm's workforce reduced from 283 to 200.
The spokesman insisted that remaining staff working across the company's other operations will not be affected by the changes, which will take effect over the coming weeks.
Johnson Brothers specialises in haulage, but also provides sales and marketing for major consumer brands in the grocery and pharmaceutical sectors. The company, which was founded in 1893 by four brothers, lists its central services as administration, IT, human resources, warehousing and transport.
The job losses coincide with the release of new figures from the Central Statistics Office that showed a drop in the number of people claiming unemployment benefits. Some 1,400 fewer people signed on the Live Register in December than the previous month, while the country's standardised unemployment rate remained unchanged at 14.6%.
Trade union Siptu has confirmed it will meet workers affected by the job losses on Monday and Johnson Brothers management the next day.
Union organiser Graham Macken said the redundancy announcement came as a complete shock to workers. He added that the company had agreed to respect its statutory obligation to enter into a 30 day negotiation period during which no notice of redundancy can be served on employees.
"During this period, Siptu will seek to explore all options for staff," Mr Macken said. "These include redeployment within the company, possible employment by DHL, the company to which distribution work at Johnson Brothers is being outsourced, and, where necessary, acceptable redundancy terms for staff."