Up to 600 jobs are under threat at a multinational cosmetics manufacturer in Co Tipperary, it was revealed tonight.
After a year-long review of Proctor & Gamble’s operations across Europe, the company confirmed it would detail a cost-cutting plan to staff at its Nenagh plant tomorrow.
Since last summer speculation has mounted the company plans to wind down manufacturing of skincare products at the factory.
Micheal Martin, Enterprise Minister, said staff would be given every support required if the worst fears are realised.
“We will be there to support the workers in any way we can into the future and state agencies will be asked of course to support in terms of whatever announcement may emanate from the company,” he said.
“We are aware of the ongoing concerns in relation to Proctor & Gamble for over 12 months. They are engaged in a significant restructuring programme and analysis of their worldwide operation.”
Mr Martin said meetings have taken place with the company and the IDA over the last year.
Procter & Gamble is the world’s top personal care products firm with a payroll of 135,000 in 80 countries around the world.
The firm has been based in the town for 25 years employing hundreds of local people making Max Factor, Oil of Olay, Hugo Boss and Cover Girl cosmetics for markets around the world.
It is the biggest employer in the town.
In December 2005, all part-time positions at the plant were terminated and the company axed 75 jobs in February of last year.
Senator Kathleen O’Meara, Labour Party representative in the area, accused the Government of failing to support the area.
“The fact that the IDA has made no site visits to North Tipperary in over two years shows that we are not on the radar as far as this Government is concerned and are not a target for investment,” Ms O’Meara said.
“Unfortunately should the plant close it will be part of a wider trend that has emerged in the area in recent years.”
Tipperary has suffered in recent years with a number of firms shedding jobs.
Last April the BSN medical company based in Thurles revealed it would close by the end of the year with the loss of 80 jobs.
In 2001 GMX manufacturing axed 250 posts and the following year pharmaceutical company Aventis-Pharma also cut 250 jobs.
Staff at Erin Foods, in Thurles are also facing an uncertain future after the Competition Authority told its parent company Premier it had to off-load the business after a merger. It is now looking to sell Erin Foods as a going concern.
Noel Coonan, Fine Gael Senator for North Tipperary, claimed the pharmaceutical industry was in a perilous condition in Ireland.
“The Proctor & Gamble plant in Nenagh has been a tremendous benefit to the company’s international operations and I would urge the company to think very carefully before making any drastic decision over its future,” the senator said.
And Mr Coonan said the Nenagh workforce was one of the most dedicated and productive in Ireland.
Last year management at Proctor & Gamble revealed it was carrying out a review of its Irish and European operations with a view to cutting costs.
That assessment involved every aspect of the business from sourcing materials and production through to transport and the supply chain.
Proctor & Gamble also announced last month it was planning to invest in a factory in Poland. It is understood the company has already set aside €75m for that.
The factory should open in 2008 in Aleksandrow Lodzki, a small city, employing 200 people.