Almost 200 manufacturing job losses across NI

Within a matter of hours, Sharader Electronics, Caterpillar and Invista all said they are reducing staff numbers.

Schrader Electronics was the first to confirm that it’s making 42 temporary employees redundant at its Carrickfergus factory by the end of the year. 

The company, which is now part of Sensata Technologies, has said it had increased its workforce late last year to meet an increase in global demand but that growth has now stabilised and the firm is undertaking a phased return to its previous work pattern.

Ulster Unionist MLA for East Antrim, Roy Beggs, has commented on the job losses, saying: “It is disappointing to learn of the loss of 42 manufacturing positions in Carrickfergus. 

“The announcement of further job losses as we approach the Christmas period will be devastating to the workers and families concerned.”

Caterpillar also announced a further 100 job losses to the sector.

It comes after the US company reported a 90% fall in 2014 profits in Northern Ireland.

It makes generators and other industrial equipment in the region.

A statement from the firm said: “Current weaknesses in the economies of some key markets are impacting on global demand for a number of our products.

“The company is therefore taking necessary measures during this time to help support the competitiveness and sustainability of the business for the future.

“This includes reducing our permanent workforce by approximately 50 positions and releasing approximately 50 agency workers.

“We know this is difficult for our employees and their families, and resources will be provided to assist impacted employees during this transition.”

In a third hit to the workforce, Invista in Maydown, Co Londonderry is to seek up to forty-eight redundancies.

The US based company is a producer of polymers and fibers.

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin expressed concern at the Invista losses in Maydown. 

She said:  “News that Invista is seeking 48 redundancies at its plant in Maydown is very worrying. 

“This will undoubtedly come as a shock to the employees involved and their families, particularly in the run-up to Christmas. 

“This announcement is a blow to the local economy in the north west. 

“I would call on management at the company to work with staff and trade unions to keep employees up to date during this difficult time. 

“They should also make sure that retraining and upskilling opportunities are put in place for the workers involved to help them secure alternative employment.”  

Davy Thompson, Unite Regional Coordinating Officer, responded to the job loss announcements, saying: “Unite is strongly represented in both Caterpillar and Invista and share the concern of our members who are now faced with the threat of redundancy in the run up to Christmas.

“Both these announcements have the potential to threaten further employment along the supply-chain.

“In the last year, there have been significant job loss announcements at Bombardier-Shorts and Caterpillar who shed 140 jobs this time last year; as well as closures announced by Michelin, JTI and Sirocco.

“In total, 2,500 high-value manufacturing jobs have been lost in the last year. The net impact of these losses is likely to multiply three times when indirect and induced jobs lost are included.”

Davy Thompson, Unite

“Those who say Manufacturing in Northern Ireland is not in crisis are in denial. The apathy and inaction that have characterised the NI Executive’s approach to manufacturing must end now.

“Last Friday, a spokesperson for Invest NI was quoted confirming that they are not proactively seeking foreign direct investment in manufacturing as they do not consider Northern Ireland to have a competitive advantage.

“In light of these announcements, the unparalleled skills and commitment of our workers and the facilities Northern Ireland can offer investors, this attitude is totally unacceptable and makes mockery of commitments to find workers alternative employment.

“(Enterprise) Minister (Jonathan) Bell must immediately act to reverse this decision by Invest NI and to ensure it does everything possible to attract manufacturing investment and jobs for Northern Ireland”, Mr Thompson concluded.

Roy Beggs added: “Manufacturing jobs are vital to any economy. This further loss of manufacturing jobs … must give us all cause for concern.

“The Northern Ireland Executive must meet the needs of local industry so that vital manufacturing jobs are maintained and employees can continue to support themselves and their families.”

The losses come after Michelin announced 860 future job cuts at its Ballymena factory last week.

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