LOUTH company Bitech Engineering is to close with the loss of more than 200 jobs, it has been announced.
The decision to close the factory in Dunleer was made by Bitech’s parent company Glen Dimplex.
SIPTU, which represents staff at the plant, said it would be fighting to save as many jobs as possible.
The union’s branch organiser John King said the news had been “devastating” for the workers concerned and forecast the closure would have far-reaching consequences for the Louth area.
He said workers’ representatives and management at the plant have been engaged in extensive talks on a change or cost-reduction programme that was overwhelmingly rejected by the workforce in a secret ballot before Christmas.
The cost-reduction programme would have seen a significant number of redundancies, with the remaining workers having to accept a 20% reduction in pay as well as inferior terms and conditions.
“The package in totality was unacceptable to the workers, who are already low paid, earning less than the average industrial wage, while the Glen Dimplex Group is very profitable,” said Mr King. “SIPTU will be exploring whatever opportunities may exist to save as many of the jobs as possible.”
The company would give no comment on the closure.
Local TD Fergus O’Dowd said he believed there were options on the table and workers and management could pursue them to save some of the jobs.
“If it means a short-term sacrifice, a job is better than the dole,” he said. “This closure will have an appalling impact; it is a major employer in the county and it is unacceptable that this is happening.”
Meanwhile, Heineken is to axe 13 jobs in Cork after conducting a series of internal reviews.
“It is envisaged that these efficiencies will be primarily achieved through management of natural attrition, redeployment of roles where necessary and reduction in the overall number of temporary contracts within the company,” Heineken said.
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