120 jobs saved after plant closure decision reversed
WORKERS who applied for voluntary redundancy at a pharmaceutical plant can now withdraw those applications after a major jobs boost, their boss has said.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) had announced the closure of its Stiefel plant in Sligo three years ago. But the company now says the site is to remain open, keeping 120 of the 180 jobs there.
However, site director Pat McLoughlin told the Irish Independent that the final number of people still working there in 2014 will be around 170, as 50 jobs are added.
Staff are to undergo extensive retraining as GSK switches the work there from the production of pharmaceutical to skin healthcare products.
"There are a small number of people who will leave the business in the next few weeks and there are around 30 people who have volunteered for redundancy who wish to still leave," said Mr McLoughlin.
"Some of them are nearing retirement age and we have a fully funded and generous pension scheme. However, anyone who has volunteered for redundancy can withdraw."
Mr McLoughlin said a 40pc increase in productivity at the Sligo plant in the past three years was key to saving the plant and the jobs.
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton, who was given a tour of the premises yesterday, welcomed a €10m investment by GSK.
He said retaining jobs in existing businesses in Ireland was a key part of the Government's employment strategy.
"The decision to reverse the closure is a great vote of confidence in the workforce," said Mr Bruton.
"Through the continued implementation of the Action Plan for Jobs, I am determined to ensure that we build on our multinational investments in Ireland, retain the jobs we have and create the jobs we need."
The decision is a coup for the IDA, which had been in discussions with the global pharmaceutical giant for several months. The company has 1,600 employees in Ireland.