Monday 19 February 2018

Mixture of worry and relief as long day ends

Louise Hogan

THERE were, as one worker put it, mixed emotions.

Rumours of a complete shutdown of the Pfizer plant in Newbridge had been circulating among worried workers' for months.

And when the announcement finally came -- although it signalled a future for the manufacturing hub -- many were naturally left fearing theirs may be one of the 275 high-end jobs to go.

Anxious workers headed for home as their shift came to a close at 4pm.

Some were pleased the plant, a key employer in the area, still had a future with 770 jobs, while others were shocked and disappointed at the sheer numbers as they contemplated the cutbacks.

"There were mixed emotions," Ian Moore, a SIPTU shop steward, who has been working in the packaging department for 10 years, said.

For some it could be a double blow, as there are many married couples working in the plant.

"Some were relieved and some of them are still worried, a lot of the details are still up in the air. The next year or so will tell it all," Mr Moore said.

"We have been hearing rumours in the last number of months now, we have been hearing we are closing down, we have been hearing we are as safe as houses, but you never know," he warned.

"We have just heard the announcement so we are still waiting for how the restructuring will take place, there are some new products coming in,'' he added.

"The factory survived, that is important," said Marek Swiatkowski (35), originally from Poland, who has been working in the pharmaceutical development centre (PDC), which will close next year.

"There are still opportunities for jobs in Ireland, there are still a lot of quality R&D jobs," he said, after four years working at the plant.

"The atmosphere is not good as you can imagine, we have had better days," said a woman who had relocated from Scotland six months ago to work in the PDC hub.

She added: "That is life, isn't it? You just go where the work is and we'll fight another day.

"I think people are just in shock today, once we all feel a bit better we'll come back fighting."

Irish Independent

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