HP job losses: ‘Everyone’s disappointed in the way it was handled. We knew it was coming’

Staff are “devastated” after it was announced that 500 jobs are to go at the Hewlett Packard (HP) global print plant in Leixlip, Co Kildare as cost- saving measures to invest in new opportunities such as 3D printing.

Hewlett Packard general manager of the Leixlip site Maurice O'Connell speaks to the media.
Hewlett Packard general manager of the Leixlip site Maurice O'Connell speaks to the media.

Local Independent county councillor Bernard Caldwell, chairman of the Celbridge/Leixlip Municipal District, said that staff were shocked.

“They’re devastated. They enjoyed working for HP but it is what it is. We weren’t expecting this,” he said.

“There had been rumours but they didn’t know ‘when’; I suppose there’s the thinking: it isn’t going to happen to me’,” he said.

However, he was confident of a positive outcome. “There’s a lot going on around the area, so hopefully, they can get their package and move on,” Mr Caldwell stated.

He also said that a lot of families would be affected.

“There are lots of workers with families. There are a lot of them that are there a long time and are well settled,” said Mr Caldwell.

One worker, who did not give a name, but who had worked at the plant for 17 years, said that staff are disappointed at how the news was delivered.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet. [I’m] not too pleased. Maybe it’s not a bad time because the economy seems to be turning but I don’t know.

“I’ve been employed there for 17 years, I haven’t looked for another job in 17 years,” he said.

“Everyone’s disappointed, very disappointed in the way it was handled. We all knew it was going to come at some time but we didn’t think it was going to just be shut like that,” he said.

The HP employee also said redundancy negotiations are continuing. “They said they were still in negotiations but that they would match previous redundancies which were roughly six and two — six weeks and two weeks statutory for every year, capped at two years wages,” the employee said.

Local business people described the general shock in the area. Emmet Feerick of Feerick’s Pharmacy said it was a sad day and that a lot of families were going to be affected. Hairdresser Ciara said every shop would feel the brunt.

“It’s very sad for anybody who works there and it will definitely affect everybody in the long-term, every shop, whether they be big or small, is going to be massively affected,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Workers’ Party, condemned the move. “The development shows the folly of relying on foreign direct investment as the major source of employment in this country,” said Cllr Éilis Ryan.

“Very few of these companies last the pace, being happy to avail of the inducements of the state and the advantages of operating from this country, but ultimately leave when the profits are no longer there.”

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