Saturday 29 July 2017

Drugs giant to cut 130 jobs as production goes abroad

Conor Kane

UP to 130 job losses were announced yesterday when a major drugs company signalled it would transfer production of some pharmaceuticals to Spain.

Healthcare multinational GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) made the cuts at its two plants in Dungarvan, Co Waterford, where 700 people are employed.

The firm said it remains committed to its Irish operations, despite announcing the job losses, which will take effect over the next four years. The cuts were confirmed to shocked staff at a general meeting with management yesterday afternoon.

A total of 82 people are to be made redundant in the next two years, while 48 more will be cut when the company shifts the manufacture of some of its Panadol products from Dungarvan to Spain between 2012 and 2014. The company is to meet with union representatives today to discuss implementation of the cuts.

Company vice-president and site director Mike Willison described the job losses as "regrettable", but said they were part of a cost-containment package aimed at achieving "significant savings" in overheads.

The announcement came following a restructuring review of operations at GSK's Dungarvan plants, which manufacture oral care products in one centre, and painkillers at another.

GlaxoSmithKline currently has more than 1,500 people on its payroll in Ireland -- almost half of them in Dungarvan, where it is the area's largest employer, with the rest in Dublin, Cork and Sligo.

GSK employee Eric O'Riordan said yesterday: "There is not a whole lot going on here in Waterford as it is, so we are devastated.

"The creamery closed and then the glass factory closed and there is nothing coming to replace them. This is the most important employer in the town."

Tony Kelly, the regional organiser of trade union Unite -- which represents about 500 of the staff -- said staff were in shock.

Irish Independent

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