SIPTU has slammed as “atrocious” the treatment by C&C Group of workers at a water bottling plant in Borrisoleigh, Co Tipperary, who learned through the media that they are to lose their jobs.
Meetings were held yesterday between management and union representatives after news broke that the company is to close its M&J Gleeson bottling operation, with the loss of more than 120 jobs.
The “consolidation” move is part of a €15m cost-cutting exercise by C&C, who took over M&J Gleeson in 2014, with a cider-making factory in Somerset, England, also slated for closure.
The Tipperary Water enterprise will move to C&C’s facility in Clonmel, where it owns the Bulmers plant, with 80 new jobs to be created in the town.
Workers in Borrisoleigh found out about the imminent closure through a newspaper report yesterday, as did their representatives in SIPTU, who spent the morning trying to contact company management to seek clarification. Meetings were held throughout the day.
“It’s atrocious,” said SIPTU area organiser Terry Bryan. “It’s a terrible way to treat people.”
C&C intends to maintain a warehousing and distribution centre at Borrisoleigh, with a small number of employees remaining in the town.
In a statement, C&C said that, following a detailed review of operations, it intended to “consolidate production” from its sites in Borrisoleigh and Shepton Mallet, England, to Clonmel.
“Consequently, Clonmel will become the core manufacturing site for both Bulmers and Magners cider, Tipperary Water, and our range of niche premium beers and ciders,” said the company.
More than €10m will be invested in the Clonmel plant, with 80 positions to be created.
“Regrettably, net roles lost across the operational network is estimated at 180, of which 127 are in the UK and 54 in Ireland. This has been a difficult decision for the group and it is sad that the consolidation of production at the Clonmel site is the only viable option to maintain long-term competitiveness,” said C&C.
“C&C recognises the impact on employees and will work to provide support, training and, where possible, alternative employment.”
The company blamed an “intensely competitive” trading environment across Ireland and the UK in recent years: “This has led to significant downward pricing pressure and the loss of material contracts for private-label water.”
The Clonmel plant, which has been hit by a number of job loss announcement over the last number of years, will operate at 75% capacity under the new regime, compared to 34% capacity across the Borrisoleigh, Clonmel, and Somerset sites at present.
Independent TD Mattie McGrath said the job losses will be “devastating” for the workers and their families.
“I have been attempting to get C&C to come clean on what exactly their plans were for their Tipperary operations for a couple of years now,” he said. “Each time, we were given explicit assurances that their was genuine commitment to the retention and, indeed, the expansion of the Clonmel and Borrisoleigh facilities.”
Mr McGrath said he was “bitterly disappointed” for all involved at the plant.
by Conall Ó Fátharta
Staff of C&C and locals in Borrisoleigh have been left shocked by the news that more than120 jobs are to be cut at the plant.
It comes following the decision by C&C Group has said that it plans to cut 144 jobs across its Irish operations in Borrisoleigh in Co Tipperary and in its depots in Portlaoise and New Ross.
Staff were shocked by the news, which was delivered to them yesterday afternoon
Ollie Larkin who has been working for 15 years at C&C, said that staff were told that their jobs would be gone by the end of July.
“One hundred and forty jobs will be gone by the end of July. I’m here 15 years. It’s not alone just for us but it’s for all the people who have been working here for years. Lots of people have been here for 25 and 30 years. People are walking around here and don’t know what’s going on,” he told RTÉ.
Martin McPolin who has spent almost two decades working at the plant said it was a dark day for the town.
“It’s been 18 years now so it is. Sure it’s a dark day for Borrisoleigh and for everywhere around here it’s a dark day but what can you do,” said Mr McPolin.
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