News on Dell jobs expected in ‘day or two’

DEFENCE Minister Willie O’Dea expects an announcement from Dell “over the next day or two” on the future of the company’s Limerick plant.

Mr O’Dea said that while the Dell situation was not on the agenda for today’s meeting of the cabinet, he would be raising it as a matter of importance.

Dell employs 3,000 workers in the city and there are fears that it may shed up to 2,000 of its workforce as the company moves to outsource manufacturing at its nine of it plants worldwide.

Mr O’Dea also revealed that there had been little contact between the Government and Dell in recent days.

“The information flow has literally stopped at the moment so we will just have to wait and see,” the minister said.

“We will no doubt find out tomorrow or over the next day or two.”

The minister said it was “unfortunate” his visit with Tánaiste and Enterprise and Trade Minister Mary Coughlan last month to the Dell headquarters in Texas, where they met with Michael Dell, had garnered so much attention from the media.

This, he said, had caused great concern among the Dell workforce in Raheen industrial estate.

Mr O’Dea said that he and the Tánaiste had gone to Texas to meet Michael Dell as a “listening exercise” about the future of the Limerick operation.

Mr Dell made it clear to both ministers that when the company communicates its plans to its workforce this month, it would do so directly with workers, and not go through political channels.

Ms Coughlan is currently on a visit to Egypt, but Mr O’Dea felt there would be contact with her.

Former Dell senior executive, Nicky Hartery, has kept a public silence on speculation that he has put a consortium together to take over the Dell operation at Raheen.

Mr Hartery, who led the growth of Dell in Limerick from 2000, quit the company last August when his request for further investment at Raheen was turned down by Dell bosses.

The company has decided to outsource all manufacturing to cut costs and take on Hewlett-Packard for the number one spot in the world for the manufacture of personal computers.

Hewlett-Packard has outsourced its manufacturing operations and this helped it to overtake Dell.

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