Regional 'catastrophe' as 200 jobs axed

MORE than 200 jobs were axed in north Kerry last night in what is being termed as a catastrophe for the region's workforce on a par with the Limerick pull-out by computer giant Dell.

Yesterday, German-owned company Amann confirmed that its textile factory in Tralee � the second-largest manufacturer employer in the region � is to be shut down on a phased basis from July until mid-2010, forcing hundreds more workers onto the 6,000-strong dole queues in the town.

Announcing the move to devastated workers yesterday, the company � which had already announced 120 lay-offs in January with the transfer of operations to Romania and Germany � said the 210 jobs that survived the earlier cull would now be condemned to a similar fate as the remaining facilities are to be transferred to Amann�s China-based operations.

Trade union SIPTU has heavily criticised the factory closure, stating that move will devastate the lives of hundreds of families in north Kerry.

�The effect will be catastrophic� warned SIPTU branch organiser Con Casey. �This is a company where whole families have been employed and they will now find it next to impossible to find alternative employment.�

The decision to transfer the Tralee section of the company has been widely condemned by local politicians, with Fine Gael MEP Colm Burke and local TD Jimmy Deenihan warning that the closure of the site � which opened in 1998 and made technical sewing threads for the car, fashion and textile industries � would have grave economic consequences for other businesses in the area.

�Amann was Tralee�s Dell and the effects on the region will undoubtedly be similar to the fallout that is ongoing in Limerick,� he said.

�The news that the plant�s equipment is to be moved to Amann�s operation in China is a further reminder of how uncompetitive Ireland has become in recent years, and in this case Tralee is paying the price.�

Fianna F�il TD Thomas McEllistrim has called on the IDA to redouble its efforts to bring fresh investment to Tralee to ensure that those affected by the latest job losses will have the possibility of alternative employment.

�This really is terrible, terrible news for the workers of Amann and their families,� he said.

�I hope the company will put a generous redundancy package in place to see them through this difficult time. It is the least they deserve after all the loyal service and hard work they have done.�

Meanwhile, 465 jobs at the Lufthansa Technik Airmotive plant in Rathcoole, Co Dublin, hang in the balance today despite both sides in the dispute holding talks at the National Implementation Body.

Management and the three unions at the company attended the talks at Government Buildings yesterday morning as part of ongoing negotiations at the firm.

The NIB has recommended that all parties �engage in urgent and intensive discussions� to allow for a planned �40m investment in the company to go ahead, with a deadline of Tuesday, April 28, for a decision.

While SIPTU branch organiser Teresa Hannick said �the dispute is capable of a resolution�, to date no decision has been made on the security of the positions at the firm.


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