Business Irish

Sunday 17 December 2017

Olhausen meat plant shuts doors after 126 years, costing 160 jobs

Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

ONE of the country's best known meat processing plants has been forced to close with the loss of 160 jobs.

Sausage maker Olhausen -- which had been in business for more than 126 years -- ceased trading at its plants in Blanchardstown and Coolock in Dublin and in Co Monaghan.

Shocked workers will now have to wait until next Monday or Tuesday to find out what their entitlements are.

The employees had turned up for work yesterday morning as normal but within an hour were told their jobs had gone.

Ulster Bank-appointed receiver Jim Hamilton, of BDO, informed them that the company had closed as it was no longer a going concern.

SIPTU organiser Colm Casserly said discussions are continuing with the receiver over the payment of wages and redundancy terms.

Olhausen worker David Hatton said they knew the financial situation within the company was bad but staff had hoped to "get until Christmas out of it".

Alan Boxwell (51) told how he had never been unemployed since starting work at the company at the age of 15. He said staff were in "complete shock".

Regret

A statement from the BDO receivers expressed regret that the company had been forced to cease trading.

"Unfortunately we have today had to inform the employees that all positions within the company are now redundant," it said.

They said their primary focus is now on completing paperwork in order that employee entitlements may be processed as quickly as possible.

However, it is understood that staff will be paid outstanding wages for their work over the past two weeks. They are also entitled to statutory redundancy pay, which could take up to six months to process.

The receivers are also trying to find a purchaser for the remaining business and assets.

Olhausen began as a retail butcher shop in Talbot Street, Dublin, in 1896 and became a firm family favourite.

Its sausages, puddings, bacon and pork products are sold under the brand names Olhausen, Byrnes and Kearns -- two other old Dublin pork brands long since merged under the Olhausen umbrella.

In recent years, the company had been suffering financial difficulties and had been unsuccessful in finding a buyer for the struggling business.

Mr Casserly confirmed the 160 staff affected will be paid outstanding wages for work over the past two weeks.

Negotiations with the receivers had been "tough", he said, adding that he did not think they had "any intention" of paying out the wages but were eventually persuaded to do so.

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said he hoped what is left of the business and its assets attract interest from investors.

He said Olhausen had been confined to the domestic market -- a market that had suffered severe difficulties.

"Clearly the challenge for us throughout the food sector is to internationalise and grow from an Irish base, so there's a wider transformation that needs to occur," he added.

Ulster bank turns down €1m takeover offer: Business, PAGE 1

Irish Independent

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