Late bid for SR Technics could save 900 jobs

TROUBLED airline maintenance firm SR Technics told the Labour Court yesterday it could not improve the redundancy package on offer to staff amid reports a “serious offer” had been made for the company.

Just four days before it is due to let the first 600 of its Dublin-based staff go, the company, which employs more than 1,100 people in Ireland, told the court the financial status of its stand-alone Irish operations is extremely weak following the loss of its main customers, including Aer Lingus. It plans to wind down the operation completely by August and move operations to its base in Zurich.

It said the net assets remaining in the Irish business were just €5.7 million and that it was costing €2m a week to run the operation.

“The solvency of SR Technics Ireland is in substantial doubt and while the group itself is also in a financially difficult position it has made finance available to fund the [redundancy and pension] packages in excess of the statutory minimum requirements,” a spokesman said.

He said it was not possible “to increase the funds available”.

However, SIPTU, which represents the bulk of the workers said SR Technics, received a serious expression of interest on Sunday to acquire the facility at Dublin airport and save 900 jobs.

SIPTU branch organiser Pat Ward called on the IDA to help fund the proposed Transfer of Undertakings proposal, which comes in the form of a new management buyout (MBO) bid.

“I understand the MBO would need about €25m in IDA aid, which is half the expected cost to the exchequer of letting the facility close,” Mr Ward said.

“At today’s hearing SR Technics said it was unwilling to defer the 600 redundancies planned for next Friday, because of the expense.

“Whatever financial justification the company offers for its callous attitude, it is really indefensible that it has yet to notify the employees of who exactly is going to lose their job on Friday.”

The Labour Court is expected to issue a recommendation by Friday.

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