Thursday 30 March 2017

Uncertain future for over 260 as jobs axe looms

Fergus Black and Majella O'Sullivan

HUNDREDS of workers are facing an uncertain new year as a raft of redundancies was announced yesterday.

More than 260 jobs are under threat. Soft drinks group Britvic said it was looking to lay off 100 staff.

And supermarket group Superquinn announced its Naas, Co Kildare, store -- which employs 110 staff -- would close early next month because of the expiry of a lease on the premises.

The jobs axe also fell on hairdressing group Toni & Guy, which is closing four of its 13 salons in Dublin, Cork and Kilkenny with the loss of 35 jobs.

And Kerry Airport is making 20 staff redundant -- blaming Ryanair's move to axe its public service obligation (PSO) contract as the reason behind the decision.

News of the latest losses comes as live register figures are due to be published today and follows the collapse of Ivan Yates's Celtic Bookmakers chain with more than 230 jobs in the business under threat.

In the music sector, retailer HMV said the "majority" of its 13 Irish stores would not be affected by a raft of planned closures by its parent group.

Announcing it was seeking 100 redundancies largely across its commercial teams, Britvic Ireland said it remained committed to "driving growth" in the soft drinks market.

This would require a restructuring of its sales and merchandising teams and provided for increased investment in new product development, it said.

"I very much regret the unavoidable loss of jobs and I am grateful to departing staff for their contribution over the years," Britvic Ireland managing director Andrew Richards said.

Superquinn has offered redeployment to affected staff to minimise job losses after confirming its Naas store would close on February 4.

News of the "regrettable decision" came as a legal wrangle over the lease on the store premises spilled over into the High Court, where another retailer, Penneys, brought proceedings aimed at having the supermarket group vacate the premises.

In a statement, Superquinn said the closure of the North Main Street store, which opened in 1982, was due to the expiry of the lease on the premises and the landlord's wish to take possession of the store.

The supermarket group had intended opening a new store in the town on the site of the former St Patrick's Community College on the Newbridge Road, but this was on hold because of "current problems" in the property market, it said.

Shocked

The announcement came as Primark, which trades as Penneys in Ireland, claimed in the High Court the alleged failure to vacate the premises by the end of last month had "hindered plans" to redevelop the site. The matter will be heard again in court tomorrow.

Mandate assistant general secretary Gerry Light said staff were shocked and disappointed over the closure and this was heightened by the fact that the store was trading very well.

In Kerry, the regional airport at Farranfore is cutting its workforce by a third, with 20 redundancies effective from February 4. Kerry Airport chairman Denis Cregan said the move was necessary to safeguard the business in the medium term and to protect the remaining jobs.

"It has been caused by passenger reductions on the Dublin route and the decision of Ryanair to discontinue the current PSO contract. We regret the necessity for such action, but it is considered unavoidable," Mr Cregan said.

Irish Independent

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