Job cuts bring Premier Foods’ layoffs to 180

YESTERDAY’S announcement that 95 jobs are to be lost at the Premier Foods Ireland plant in Thurles brings to almost 180 the number of jobs the company is cutting nationwide.

Before the end of the year it will close its Chivers plant in Coolock with the loss of 58 staff. It is also shutting its RHM plant in Tallaght where 26 employees will lose their jobs.

In its announcement regarding the 95 employees in Erin Foods in Thurles yesterday, Premier Foods said it had carried out a review of its manufacturing across its operation. That review recommended the consolidation of production of key brands across the company’s portfolio.

It said it was aware of the impact the closure, due to take place in June 2008, would have on employees and their families and said it was already in discussion with workers “to assist them in every possible way”.

Premier Foods Ireland was created by the integration of Chivers Ireland, Campbells/Erin and RHM Ireland.

It distributes a number of brands such as Mr Kipling, Gateaux and Bisto.

The company is planning to consolidate its sales and distribution operation in its existing headquarters in Blanchardstown in Dublin and to move all of the manufacturing operations presently carried out in Thurles and Coolock to one of its plants in Britain.

Erin Foods had been one of Thurles’s main employers and yesterday’s announcement is the latest in a series of economic blows the town has faced in the past decade during which more than 1,000 jobs have been lost.

Some of the workers had been employed in Erin foods for more than 40 years.

The future of the plant had been placed in doubt earlier this year after Premier Foods took over RHM Foods, which makes Bisto gravy.

That takeover would have given Premier Foods dominance in the gravy market, and the Competition Authority insisted that Premier Foods shed the Erin brand.

Meanwhile, it was feared last night that 80 to 100 jobs may be lost at the Boston Scientific plant in Galway.

The US-owned medical devices plant which has a staff of 3,500 in the west of Ireland recently said it was laying off 2,300 of its 18,000 workers worldwide.

A statement from Boston Scientific said the vast majority of the job cuts would be in the US and it stressed that its “core commitment” to its 5,000 employees in Ireland remained strong.

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