Thursday 30 March 2017

Drug giant to shed 121 jobs as key sales fall

Ralph Riegel and Olivia Kelleher

A PHARMACEUTICAL giant last night confirmed it is to cut 121 jobs at one of its key Irish plants.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) yesterday briefed its workforce on the outcome of a long-running business review, with 55 jobs to be axed at its manufacturing base in Currabinny, Co Cork, and a further 66 jobs to be shed as part of revised shift-working arrangements.

The GSK move was triggered by falling sales of some of its key products, including drugs made at the Cork plant.

The announcement follows other major job losses confirmed by pharmaceutical operators in Cork including Pfizer, Corden and Schering-Plough.

Last night, GSK vice-president Finbar Whyte said the job losses were regrettable but necessary.

"As a company, we have to anticipate and respond to changing market situations," he told the Irish Independent.

"This proposal is regrettable. However, it does represent the best strategic route for the Cork site and for GSK overall.

"We are committed to working closely with all employees to ensure that we are able to safeguard the future of GSK Cork and, most importantly, protect employment at the site wherever possible."

GSK Cork is a strategic manufacturing and new-product introduction site and currently employs 370 staff. The company also employs an additional 90 staff in research and development.

However, the GSK R&D operation will not be impacted.

The firm is now to seek a meeting with trade unions to outline the severance package on offer -- with GSK stressing that all impacted employees will receive full retraining and 'out-placement' support. It hopes that the job losses can be achieved on a voluntary basis.

SIPTU said it will be engaging with the employer and the Labour Relations Commission to minimise the level of losses.

SIPTU sector organiser Alan O'Leary described the job losses as "devastating."

Rocked

"The Lower Harbour area in Cork has been rocked by significant job cuts over the past two years with over 1,000 workers in the pharmaceutical and chemical sector losing their jobs," he said.

"This has had a dramatic effect on the wider local community with many of these workers living in this area. The Government must now introduce an urgent, tangible and real job stimulus initiative in the sector as a matter of priority."

Labour TD Ciaran Lynch described the GSK announcement as another major body blow for the regional economy.

Cork -- one of the world's biggest pharmaceutical manufacturing centres -- has now shed more than 1,400 jobs in the sector in less than three years.

Irish Independent

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