Saturday 17 March 2018

A tale of two German giants with 700 new jobs – and 400 at risk

Richard Bruton
Richard Bruton
Concerned Lufthansa workers Noel Lee and Kevin Coffey

Paul Melia and Sarah McCabe

THE financial sector has received a much-needed boost with the announcement by global giant Deutsche Bank that it is to create 700 jobs in Dublin.

The company said the move was a vote of confidence in the Irish economy, and it would seek workers in finance and those with language skills.

But there was worrying news for employees at another Dublin-based German plant when 400 aircraft engineers were told they would learn just a week before Christmas if they would have a job in the new year.

Specialist engineers at the Lufthansa Technik Airmotive plant in Co Dublin learned that its German parent company wants to shut the plant because of a downturn in business. It has given staff just 30 days to help turn it around, but one union – the TEEU – believes it will be an "insurmountable task".

Deutsche Bank currently has two offices in Dublin, and the new positions, which will bring the workforce here to 1,000, were assisted by the IDA.

Spokesman Neilus De Groot said the exit of several banks from the Irish market would provide a source of talent.

But the educated workforce was also a reason for expanding its operations here.

"The availability of technical skills has really improved," he said. "There has clearly been a swing back to more practical subjects like maths and technology, and the bonus points now associated with studying higher maths at Leaving Certificate level has helped, too. There's a strong pipeline of candidates."

Some 330 staff are employed in its offices in the IFSC, and the new workers will be based at the East Point Business Park. Recruitment begins next year.

Meanwhile, Lufthansa Technik Airmotive said in a statement yesterday that the company was starting a process to "consider closing the company" subject to consultation.

The move followed an "extensive review" in the wake of falling revenues and shrinking opportunities in global aviation.


The company was established by Aer Lingus in 1980, and Lufthansa took a 60pc shareholding in 1997, before taking full ownership two years later.

It specialises in the repair and overhaul of four engine types, but more efficient engines that require less maintenance means business has dropped.

The chairman of the Employee Works Council which comprises the three unions representing staff, Willie Quigley from Unite, said the decision was "awful" and that the unions would do all they could to help turn around the company's fortunes, including having a reduced workforce.

In a worst-case scenario, it would seek to secure a favourable redundancy package and workers' pensions.

"The timing is awful. There's people there 30 years, and a lot there 15 and 20 years. There's a lot of people in their 40s," he said.

The move follows a row over a hole in the firm's pension fund, which has been the subject of talks for two years.

Irish Independent

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