31 jobs to go in Kerry Group factory

A total of 31 jobs are in the firing line at Kerry Group’s Carrickmacross factory in Co. Monaghan, with plummeting sterling exchange rates blamed for the losses.

A spokesperson for Kerry Group informed AgriLand that the redundancies had been announced back in January following a review of the Co. Monaghan facility over the course of last year.

The purpose of the review was to optimise efficiency and ensure sustainability and viability at the plant in the face of significant drops in sterling following the Brexit vote, the spokesperson said.

Carrickmacross is particularly vulnerable to this as all of its output is exported to the UK, the company representative said, adding: “This regrettable action was needed to ensure viability.”

Staff were informed that the operational redundancies were being sought across a number of areas, it was added, and some roles are being reorganised to avoid duplication of jobs.

Following the job losses, there will be 385 employees working in the Monaghan facility.

The spokesperson stressed that no other Kerry Group plants are under threat, adding that Carrickmacross is uniquely vulnerable as it produces frozen prepared meals sold directly to the UK.

The review examined a whole range of methods to improve efficiency apart from job numbers, the spokesperson said, adding that it was necessary to safeguard the facility as a whole.

Strike threatened

Meanwhile, trade union SIPTU has called on Kerry Group to reconsider its decision.

SIPTU organiser, Jim McVeigh, said: “Management announced it will unilaterally be implementing compulsory redundancies within the factory, with up to 31 workers forced to leave the company on Thursday March 1. This is unacceptable.

“When we got wind that management was attempting to effectively dismiss our members without proper consultation we immediately sought an urgent meeting with the company,” McVeigh added.

At that meeting, we made it clear that our members are vehemently opposed to any compulsory redundancies and stressed that a voluntary scheme was the only way to avoid a dispute.

“If jobs must be lost, then the only fair way forward is to put in place a decent voluntary scheme that would allow workers who wished to go, to leave, and those who want to stay, to remain,” the SIPTU representative said.

“To date, the company has refused to reconsider its position and is pressing ahead with the redundancies. We intend to ballot our members on the company proposals this Thursday (February 15).

“SIPTU representatives will continue to meet with management in Kerry Foods over the coming days in an attempt to resolve any potential dispute.”