Manufacturing sector reeling as Tyco lays off 320 workers
IRELAND'S depressed manufacturing base suffered another blow yesterday with the confirmation that US firm Tyco-Sensormatic is closing with the loss of 320 jobs.
The losses -- confirmed to shocked staff at the Cork plant at 11am yesterday -- were even worse than initially feared.
Industry analysts had expected Tyco to axe 200 of its Bishopstown-based workers, but Tyco will retain only 20 members of its entire Irish workforce which, just five years ago, numbered more than 500. The plant will be wound down by mid-2009.
The lay-offs bring to more than 500 the number of jobs lost in Cork in just 72 hours, and to more than 800 the number of jobs lost in the area in the past four weeks.
Workers were stunned as they left the plant yesterday after being told their jobs were most likely heading to the Far East or Central America.
"I'm there about 13 years and it is a fierce shock when it (the closure news) comes," Tyco worker Catherine Crawford said.
Margaret Barrett, who worked for Tyco for 11 years, added: "Some of us are lucky that we have partners working, but there are some people inside there who have two people working in the same plant."
Senator Jerry Buttimer (FG), who visited the Bishopstown plant yesterday, said Cork was fast approaching the grim days of the 1980s when it suffered the loss of Fords, Dunlop and Verolme Dockyard.
Foreign Affairs Minister and local TD Micheal Martin said the loss of Irish manufacturing jobs to low-cost markets was a cause for major concern, but he said that Ireland continues to attract value-added industrial investments.
Tyco will transfer its entire Irish manufacturing operation to an unnamed low-cost market.
General manager Donal Sullivan expressed deep regret at the decision, but said the move was unavoidable.
"We faced increased operating costs over the last number of years affected by labour costs, freight costs, but maybe most crucially by exchange rate movements -- a very strong euro versus the dollar."
Tyco vice president Don Lyman acknowledged that the workforce had done everything possible to help save the facility.
Cork has recently lost more than 800 jobs as a result of the closure of a plant by Pfizer, the shutdown of Howley Engineering in Carrigtwohill and the axeing of 150 jobs at Little Island food firm Swissco.
The region was also reeling from the loss of 250 jobs in Waterford and east Cork through the shutdown of Cappoquin Chickens.
Tyco specialised in the manufacture of electronic tagging devices and systems for the retail and commercial sectors.