Meeting sought over co-op deal

SIPTU members employed at Newmarket Co-op in north Cork are seeking an urgent meeting with the Kerry Group, which is set to acquire the company for €33 million.

The union said it is seeking assurances from the food group over the security of the jobs, pay and pensions of its members.

Co-op shareholders voted in favour of a rule change at a special general meeting in Meelin, Co Cork last Thursday night, which allows the offer to proceed.

The shareholders have until September 10 to return letters of acceptance that were sent out by Kerry when it made the initial offer. The transaction is subject to Competition Authority approval.

Newmarket Co-op, which employs 110 people, had a turnover of €56.6 million in 2009 and is one of Ireland’s leading manufacturers of cheddar cheese. SIPTU assistant organiser Liam Allen said some of its members have 30 or 40 years’ service with the co-op.

“I have written a letter seeking an early meeting with the Kerry Group once the purchase of Newmarket is finalised,” said Mr Allen.

“We will be seeking assurances on the security of the jobs, pay and pensions of our members.

“We will also be seeking the same payment under the 2008 Transitional Agreement which Kerry Group has already made to its workforce,” he added.

Mr Allen said Newmarket Co-op is a profitable company and that this is confirmed by the large amounts which shareholders will receive under the takeover.

He said SIPTU members have welcomed the takeover, which they hope will generate further investment in Newmarket Co-op and will secure and increase employment in the wider north Cork region.


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