Almost 100 workers face being laid off at a forklift truck manufacturer in Craigavon because of the economic slowdown, it was revealed today.
The posts are to go at global giant NACCO Materials Handling Group, the third largest producer of the equipment worldwide, because of falling demand.
Up to 93 positions will be made redundant over the coming months, with talks now beginning with staff.
Plant manager Alan Little said: “For the last few months we have seen a significant reduction in demand within the European forklift truck market.
“As a producer of capital equipment goods, unfortunately our products are one of the first to be impacted by the much publicised economic slowdown.”
He said the company was committed to safeguarding as many of the 712 jobs at Craigavon as possible during the difficult time for the economy.
“In reaching this regrettable decision we have not only considered the potential demand for the remainder of 2008 but we have also taken a view on the first half of 2009,” Mr Little added.
“Even with the longer term strategy we are clearly overmanned at existing headcount levels.
Staff were told the bad news this morning but management said it had communicated closely with employees over recent months.
The firm designs, engineers, manufactures and sells forklifts and replacement parts marketed around the world.
Sinn Féin Assembly member John O’Dowd voiced deep concern.
“I have urged the Economy Minister Arlene Foster to ensure Invest NI review its assistance to NACCO in light of the announcement of the 93 job losses to ensure all necessary assistance is given to the NACCO plant in Craigavon,” he said.
“Given the nature of the announcement all public money invested in the plant should be protected.”