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Fears for hundreds of jobs at aerospace firm and IBM

THERE were fears for hundreds of jobs last night following the announcement of major restructuring plans at firms in Dublin and Clare.

All 628 full-time employees at Shannon Aerospace will attend a meeting in the Clare plant today, when the company's future will be revealed.

In Dublin, technology giant IBM announced it was moving its low-end, mid-range server manufacturing unit from Mulhuddart to China with the loss of 190 "roles".

But the company, which employs more than 3,000 across the country, said workers would be offered redeployment to high-end jobs as part of a recruitment drive for its Dublin operations.

The company also accused Fine Gael energy spokesman Leo Varadkar of making inaccurate comments after he claimed the cuts would be "devastating" for nearby Blanchardstown, in his Dublin West constituency.

IBM's announcement heralded the end of hardware manufacturing in the area and the company should give departing staff a redundancy package of at least six to nine weeks' pay per year, said Mr Varadkar.

In a statement, the company said that moving the unit to China by next March would place it closer to its growth markets and suppliers.

"IBM remains committed to its Irish operations with continued presence not only in Mulhuddart but also . . . in Dublin, Cork and Galway."

Only last April the company announced it was cutting 200 jobs as a result of moving part of its business to Singapore.


But the company insisted last night a third of the workers involved in that cut had taken up other roles in its operations and a similar offer was being made to workers affected by the latest move -- an offer confirmed by the IDA last night.

Meanwhile, a company spokesman at Shannon Aerospace refused to disclose how many would lose their jobs.

Various figures concerning possible redundancies circulated in the mid-west last night.

Clare-based Fine Gael TD Pat Breen said up to 180 jobs could be lost. He said any job losses would have "a devastating effect" on the region.

The spokesman said management would not discuss matters relating to the firm before speaking with its workforce.

"Shannon Aerospace Ltd will be making a statement in relation to a re-organisation of the company and announcing plans for sustaining a viable business in the Shannon region tomorrow," he added.

Today's staff meeting was due to begin at 9.30am. SIPTU represents a majority of the Shannon-based workforce, but did not return calls when contacted this week about the matter.

Irish Independent