Monday 23 July 2018

Lake Region staff lose days work but will not 'lose out'

Emma & The Beast From The East – The Aftermath

Staff at Interger (formerly Lake Region) in 2015
Staff at Interger (formerly Lake Region) in 2015

David Looby

Hundreds of employees at Integer (formerly Lake Region), the county's largest employer, have been informed that they will be able to make up the hours lost during Storm Emma.

In an unprecedented move the company, which has had a large medical supplies making facility at Butlesland industrial park just off the N25 in New Ross, had to close its doors for three days, suffering a major loss in productivity and profits as a result.

Following management meetings, during which weather updates were discussed, the company decided, in the interests of the safety of staff, to close the plant, which employs 800 people, on Thursday morning, March 1, prior to the red alert being imposed,

Senior Human Resources Manager Julie Walsh said: 'When our Plant Leadership Team heard about the Red Weather Warning issued by Met Eireann (Irish Government Weather Service) in response to Storm Emma, our first and foremost priority was ensuring the safety of our employees. Most of our employees are from the Wexford and Waterford areas, which were projected to be impacted the worst. We made the decision to close our plant on the morning of Thursday, March 1. Our plant re-opened on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. when we felt it was safe to do so.'

Ms Walsh said now that the safety of company employees is no longer an issue, the focus has switched to ensuring that Integer customers, many of whom were also impacted by the storm, quickly receive their products without further delay.

'Product delivery is only possible with the assistance of our employees, who have continuously given their commitment in the past and continue to do so. We are working to ensure none are at a loss of pay as a result of the storm,' Ms Walsh said.

Plans to build a major extension at Lake Region have been put on hold temporarily, after the company was granted planning permission for a substantial extension to its Butlersland facility in 2014.

A Lake Region spokesperson said at the time: 'We have the planning permission so when the decision is made we can push the button and start the extension. There is no update in relation to our plans to expand; we want to ensure that we are utilising all of the plant as it is first.'

Integer represents the union of Greatbatc Inc, Lake Region Medical and Electrochem.

Each week over 600,000 wires are shipped across the globe from this busy New Ross plant and Integer are industry experts in developing and marketing medical devices to meet unique clinical challenges for stimulation therapy, cardiovascular, neurovascular, peripheral vascular and vascular access applications.

In May 2014 Wexford County Council gave the go-ahead for the construction of the two-storey extension, extending to some 8,153 square meters, to the front and side of the existing production facility.

The proposed extension is due to include new two storey offices and a new reception as well as single storey utility buildings to the rear forming a new services compound.

To complement the proposed extension there will also be modifications to the existing facade.

Planning has also been granted for a new site entrance to the west of the site including a new security station and new surface car parking, which would replace car spaces relocated from the footprint of the proposed extension, together with 50 new car spaces to provide a total of 377 car spaces.

In their planning documentation the O'Toole Partnership Architects stated that the original facility front facade is 'quite dated' in terms of architectural design and Lake Region Medical Ltd. were taking the opportunity to 'rejuvenate' the complex and give it a 'facelift'.

This extension is intended to be constructed in two phases over the lifetime of the planning permission.

New Ross Standard