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Union in talks over 300 bank jobs

Fears were growing today for the future of some 300 bank workers after union leaders were called in for talks with management.

Unite trade union confirmed officials were having face to face discussions with bosses at Permanent TSB, the country's largest mortgage provider.

Almost 100 jobs were also lost with the closure of a medical devices manufacturing plant in Tipperary, while it is believed another 50 could go at a chicken factory in Waterford.

Pall Ireland told employees it will close its Tipperary manufacturing plant by May 31 with the loss of 71 permanent and 23 temporary employees.

David O'Driscoll, general manager, said the company was consolidating with another facility as it was only using a fraction of a site which it planned to sell.

"The consolidation is designed to strengthen the company's competitive position, reduce fixed and operating costs, and move operations closer to customers," said Mr O'Driscoll.

"This has not been an easy decision and Pall Ireland is committed to treating employees with dignity and respect.

"The company will be assisting and supporting everyone affected by today's announcement to help make the transition as painless as possible."

Meanwhile Unite, which represents the majority of Permanent TSB workers, confirmed its official were in talks with management.

Siptu trade union also revealed it has opened negotiations with management at Cappoquin Poultry Ltd over the possible loss of up to 50 jobs.

Terry Bryan, Siptu assistant industrial organiser, said: "This news is horrendous for the workers involved, especially in a rural part of Co Waterford where working class people have suffered the harsh effects of the economic decline over the last few years.

"Employment prospects in this part of the country are already very bleak.

"The union understood from our initial meeting with the company that the reason for the restructuring is due to the increase in feed costs.

"This is a company that needs State support if we are to stand any chance of saving these jobs."

South Tipperary TD, Minister of State, Dr Martin Mansergh, said the closure of Pall was a serious blow to employment in the area and vowed to work with the IDA to enter negotiations with the company.

"Pall is the last multinational employer in the town," he said.

"I would like to express every sympathy with the workforce and their families."

Fine Gael TD Tom Hayes said it was a black day for Tipperary.

"This is terrible news for the staff, many of whom have given years of service to the company," he added.

"Pall Manufacturing has been a significant employer in Tipperary.

"The company claims that the facility is operating at 'a fraction of the available capacity'. If that is the case, then why doesn't it expand operations?

"This would save jobs and also allow the facility to grow."

PA Media