French cosmetic giant Yves Rocher is to halve its Cork workforce
FRENCH cosmetic giant, Yves Rocher, is to halve its Cork workforce.
The firm is to reduce its Kilbarry, Dublin Hill workforce by up to 50pc with the loss of more than 50 jobs over the coming months.
The company also advised that it is to move two of its existing production lines to Rheux in Brittany, effectively reducing production at its Cork plant by one-third.
That French plant involved is currently operating under capacity.
The company has cited the cost of shipping products from Ireland to overseas markets as a major reason for its decision.
SIPTU Organiser Paul Depuis warned the announcement was a major blow to the workforce on the northside of Cork city.
"The announcement comes as a major shock to our members in light of the fact that major restructuring had taken place in 2014/2015," he said.
"SIPTU representatives met with the company to seek more detail and explore whether measures could be applied to preserve as many roles as possible."
It is understood further meetings will be held with the company in the coming weeks in a desperate bid to minimise the job losses.
Yves Rocher, which employs 14,000 people worldwide, commenced operations in Cork in 1981 and established its Dublin Hill facility in 1984.
At the last major investment in the plant in 2010, Jacques Rocher, the President of the Yves Rocher Foundation and son of the founder, said the Cork facility had been a key element of the Yves Rocher network since its establishment.
The firm announced plans for a €3.7m investment in their Irish plant.
Six years ago, there were also hopes the French firm could increase employment at their Cork plant to more than 300.
However, more than 100 jobs were shed as part of the restructuring two years ago.
It is the main producer for strategic Yves Rocher brands such as Riche Creme Pure Calmille, Arnica and Serum Vegetale.
As part of the 2014 restructuring, Yves Rocher ordered two entire production lines be moved from Ireland to Brittany.
This resulted in a 33pc reduction in operational activity at the Cork site.
Exports from Cork of high-end skincare products last year went to four continents and, by 2015/2016, were expected to have soared from 66 million units to 88 million units.