Workers from a Northern Ireland factory facing closure have been ordered to train the people taking their jobs, it emerged tonight.
Medical equipment firm Rusch, which is based in Lurgan, Co Armagh, announced today it was to close with the loss of 270 jobs.
The move is part of a worldwide restructuring strategy adopted by its American parent company Teleflex Medical, which will lead to plants being shut down in more than 20 locations.
The jobs are being transferred to factories in Mexico and Malaysia in a bid to cut costs.
It emerged tonight that workers from the two countries will be coming over to Northern Ireland to receive training before the company shuts down at the end of the year.
Michael Mulholland, regional organiser of the GMB union, said employees were angry at this development.
“The company wantsemployees facing redundancy to train people who are taking their jobs off them.
“As you can expect, they are taking this very badly. They feel they have been let down. A lot of people have been working here for the past 20 years,” he said.
The job losses are part of a restructuring operation that will result in around 1,600 job losses throughout the world.
The company makes a range of medical equipment including tracheotomy tubes and catheters.
In a statement, Teleflex said the decision to move jobs to Mexico and Malaysia was difficult but added it had to become more competitive.
The move has been condemned by politicians from the area.
John O’Dowd, a Sinn Féin member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, said the whole town was shattered by the jobs blow.
“The workers are not being paid off because there is no market for the product but because the plant owners are moving the people of Lurgan’s jobs to Mexico and Malaysia ...
“The Lurgan workers have now been given three months’ notice. Where will they find work in an area which has seen it manufacturing industry collapse?” he said.
SDLP Upper Bann Assembly member Dolores Kelly said the announcement was a crushing blow to the area.
“Unfortunately I believe the decision to close Teleflex Medical is reflective of the ongoing instability in the peace process.
“Now more than ever we must achieve political stability so that our local economy can thrive and our local people can be offered opportunities they deserve,” she said.
Meanwhile, cigarette manufacturer Gallaher is set to make 80 redundancies among its 850 strong workforce in Ballymena, Co Antrim.
This move is part of a wider restructuring of its European operations which will result in job losses in Cardiff and the closure of two factories in Austria.