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Saturday 23 March 2019

Staff left confused as vacancy ads go up

Barry Duggan

THE future of Dell employees in Limerick is uncertain this weekend after the announcement that the multinational is to cut 10pc of its workforce worldwide.

Outside the Limerick plant in Raheen Industrial Estate, workers reported they had not been told anything about job cuts.

But rumours were rife around the vast manufacturing complex yesterday, where 3,000 people are employed.

"People are saying we might be having a meeting next week, but nobody seems to know. We are also being told that it won't be as bad as 450 in Ireland. Nobody knows anything," said one young female worker leaving the plant last night.

Dell employs 3,000 people in Limerick and many subsidiary businesses rely on the American company for business.

Any jobs cuts would be in stark contrast to recent actions by the Limerick management.

This weekend, Dell is continuing to run advertisements throughout the Mid-West region recruiting employees for their swing shift and evening shift.

An e-mail circulated to employees last week asked them to alert family members who wished to join the company.

And on the manufacturing lines, people who recently finished their contracts with Dell returned to the Limerick plant earlier this week. It is understood that more workers were due to resume work in Dell in the near future.

Chief executive officer with Limerick Chamber of Commerce Maria Kelly said she was extremely concerned by at the announcement.

"This is a very worrying development, but it is not too surprising. There have been a lot of soundings like this in recent times. We are not too sure exactly what the impact on Limerick will be yet, as nobody seems to know the exact amount of redundancies," said Ms Kelly.

The chamber said reductions in Dell's workforce highlighted the vulnerability of the local economy.

"We rely heavily on foreign investment here. Dell is a manufacturing company and the Limerick plant is one of their best-performing assets. Everywhere, we are seeing that these industries are leaving Irish locations and moving to low-cost economies across the world," she said.

According to the CEO, there has been no significant jobs investment in Limerick in more than a decade.

"The last time there was a significant jobs boost here was in 1997 when it was announced that Vistakon were coming to Limerick. While we have had smaller companies setting up and they are always welcome, there has not been a greenfield investment here in 10 years," said Ms Kelly.

Only two months ago, a spokeswoman for Dell rejected suggestions that there would be Irish job losses after the corporation suffered losses of 33pc.

It is speculated locally that Limerick would bear the vast majority of Dell job losses in Ireland.

Limerick Mayor Joe Leddin said any losses would have a massive effect on the economy.

"This would be a major blow. Hopefully, it will not be too significant here," said Mr Leddin.

"However, everybody has a family member or knows someone working in Dell and this would be very hard for people trying to raise a family with mortgages and bills to pay."

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