Hope of replacement jobs as 280 staff at plant face dole
STAFF at pharmaceutical giant MSD may be offered jobs at other sites when 280 posts go from the end of next year.
Workers were told redundancies will take place when the company gradually closes its plant in Rathdrum, Co Wicklow.
Production workers, chem-ists, financial staff and laboratory technicians will lose their jobs as operations wind down from the end of next year until the end of 2015.
However, MSD has confirmed there may be opportunities at other plants.
A spokesperson said it had not been decided how many jobs might be available, but redeployment will be looked at.
The company will continue to employ around 2,000 staff at sites in Dublin, Carlow, Cork, Tipperary and Wicklow. MSD said a redundancy package has not been negotiated.
SIPTU said there was some relief that staff were notified of the closure well in advance.
The union said it met management yesterday and aims to reach agreement that all staff will get the opportunity to train so they can find another job.
"Members expect to hear the reasons why this decision was reached and hopefully gain an understanding as to whether the site can be sold and some or all of the jobs saved," said SIPTU organiser Frank Jones.
MSD said the cuts were due to an ongoing review of worldwide manufacturing operations.
Site director John Smith said the plan to cease operations was not a reflection on the people working there.
MSD will relocate products manufactured in Rathdrum to sites in Co Tipperary, Singapore and third-party manufacturers.
The company has a global workforce of 84,000. It had profits of €1.32bn in its first quarter results last year.
Local business owners expressed their shock at the decision. Roy Doyle, owner of The Railway pub, said it might be "the final straw" for the area.
"It's absolutely terrible, it's the only major employer in the town, this will have devastating affect. We've already taken a huge hit," he said.