UK pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has axed 94 jobs at an Irish shared services support centres.
The 94 jobs will go over a phased basis at the GSK centre at Cork Airport Business Park.
The news follows the decision two years ago by GSK to shed 121 jobs at two of its Cork pharmaceutical production facilities.
A total of 55 jobs were cut at its manufacturing base in Currabinny, Co Cork and a further 66 jobs were shed as part of revised shift working arrangements.
The firm had previously trimmed 100 jobs in 2008.
The news was greeted with shock by business and political leaders last night with GSK regarded as one of Ireland’s ‘blue chip’ employers.
Fianna Fail leader and Cork TD Michael Martin said the news was devastating both for the families involved and the south-west region.
“The news that such a high-profile employer is shedding 94 staff comes as a major body blow to this part of the country. GSK is a well respected employer, providing highly skilled and well paid positions,” he said.
“The 94 families affected by this terrible news will rightly expect that the response from Government is swift and co-ordinated.”
GSK employs almost 1,400 people in Ireland and ranks as one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical firms.
The job losses follow moves by firms including Pfizer, Schering-Plough and Corden to reduce their Irish workforce in line with falling drug demand on global markets and increasing competition for branded drugs from generic rivals.
In May 2010, US drug giants, Pfizer, signalled that it intends to close or sell three Irish plants in Dublin and Cork with the potential loss of up to 785 jobs.
The same year, Schering-Plough, which operates a major production facility at Brinny in Co Cork, confirmed that it is to axe 160 jobs.
Cork-based chemical firm, Corden PharmaChem, confirmed in 2009 it was shutting down with the loss of 90 jobs.
GSK is currently in the process of achieving cost savings of €1 billion.
The firm employ more than 100,000 people in their various operations worldwide.
GSK explained that it was looking to increase its annual cost reductions from St£700m (€770m) to £1.7bn (€2.8bn) in a programme launched in 2010/11.