Drug firm Pfizer to axe up to 785 Irish jobs
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, one of Ireland's biggest employers, announced plans today to lay off up to 785 workers.
The multinational, which bought competitor Wyeth last year and warned of thousands of job cuts around the world, told staff of the cuts in a series of meetings at its Irish plants.
The company said it will close two plants in Ringaskiddy, Cork, and a third in Dun Laoghaire, south Dublin. It also intends to reduce operations in Newbridge, Co Kildare.
Pfizer global manufacturing president Nat Ricciardi said restructuring the plant network worldwide was critical to remain competitive in the environment.
"We are keenly aware of the impact these types of changes have on employees and their families," Mr Ricciardi said.
"We will provide support to our colleagues who lose their jobs so that their transition to new careers is as smooth as possible."
Pfizer gave a breakdown of how the planned cutbacks will affect its operations in Ireland.
- 275 jobs will go in the Newbridge manufacturing plant which makes tablets.
- The Ringaskiddy closures - the biotechnology plant in Shanbally and the Loughbeg tablet manufacturing site - will see 75 and 225 job losses respectively.
- The closure of the Dun Laoghaire site will see 210 lay-offs.
The cutbacks are part of the pharmaceutical giant's plans to reduce its global workforce by 6,000.
Pfizer said it was seeking buyers for Dun Laoghaire, Shanbally and Loughbeg.
Management said the closures could take place at any time between 18 months from now and five years depending upon the complexity of operations, the amount of time required for product transfers and other business requirements.
Enterprise Minister Batt O'Keeffe said the job losses were deeply regrettable.
He said he has called in the state's enterprise agencies to plan for re-training and re-employment for the workers affected.
"I have asked IDA Ireland to begin the search for other major players in the life science sector to take over the facilities in Loughbeg and Shanbally in Cork and Dun Laoghaire," the minister said.
"IDA Ireland has a strong track record in sourcing same-sector replacement industries for vacated facilities and I will be urging the agency to prioritise its endeavours in the cases of the plants in Cork and Dublin."
Mr O'Keeffe said despite the job losses it was important to remember Pfizer remains a big player in Irish industry.
"Although the company plans to cut its global headcount by 6,000, Pfizer remains a major multinational employer in Ireland, with more than 4,200 workers involved in the manufacture of high-end products for the life science industry worldwide," the minister said.