Business Irish

Wednesday 24 October 2018

Aryzta still using agency that sourced staff for US hub prior to immigration crackdown

Aryzta stock has lost about three-quarters of its value this year
Aryzta stock has lost about three-quarters of its value this year
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Troubled Swiss-Irish food group Aryzta is still using an employment agency that sourced staff for the company’s US Cloverhill operation, whom it later transpired were illegally present in America.

The Aryzta plant in Chicago lost 800 workers earlier this year following an immigration raid. The well-publicised loss of the workers – about 35pc of the total - played havoc with Aryzta's production at the facility.

Aryzta has previously said that its employees were supplied by a job placement agency that had undergone federal audits earlier this year.

Aryzta chairman Gary McGann said today at the company’s annual general meeting in Dublin that the firm is still using the same agency, but will not be in the long term.

“The clear understanding with the agency was that employees were legitimate and were capable of being employed,” said Mr McGann. “Unfortunately, that didn’t turn out to be the case.”

“The dynamic in terms of employing migrants in the US has changed very significantly under the current administration,” he added.

“In ideal terms they [the employment agency] would not be working for us, but quite frankly, when a huge amount of our workforce has been wiped out, the ability to actually get people to work in the operation was a priority,” said Mr McGann, adding that a “critical issue” was sourcing staff who were entitled to work in the United States.

He told shareholders that Aryzta had “no alternative” except to retain the employment agency as it sought to replace the lost workers.

“But clearly, long term, that will not be the intention,” he added.

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