FG: Job losses a sign of 'declining competitiveness'

One of the country’s largest employers, computer giant Dell, is to cut its Irish workforce by 250 as it strives to drive down costs and increase profits, it was revealed tonight.

One of the country’s largest employers, computer giant Dell, is to cut its Irish workforce by 250 as it strives to drive down costs and increase profits, it was revealed tonight.

Staff from the multi-national’s Dublin and Limerick plants will be affected with positions in the sales, marketing and support divisions on the line.

Up to 200 employees are facing compulsory redundancy with the vast majority of cuts at the Cherrywood centre in the south of the capital.

Opposition politicians claimed cutbacks at the high profile company was an ominous sign of the state of the Irish economy.

But a spokeswoman for Dell said there was no question manufacturing jobs would be lost.

“It is part of the global initiative to cut more costs from the business in a worldwide drive to improve competitiveness,” she said.

The losses – around 6% of the Dell Ireland workforce – are part of wider cutbacks across Europe, Africa and the Middle East where more than 800 jobs have been axed.

Dell claimed its business is growing in double-digit levels around the world and that chief executive and chairman Michael Dell was determined to make more savings.

It said there was more work to do on costs to restore competitiveness and deliver long-term profitability.

“Dell Ireland regrets the impact that this will have on its employees but is confident that the changes will position Dell strongly for continued future growth,” the company told workers.

Damien English, Fine Gael labour affairs spokesman, said the cuts were a major blow.

“Job losses at a bell-weather employer like Dell are a major blow to Ireland’s global reputation as a destination for multinationals,” he said.

“These job losses are further evidence of how rising business costs and declining competitiveness are hitting companies based in Ireland. Competitiveness has plummeted under Fianna Fáil.”

Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore, local TD for the Cherrywood plant, blamed the Government for failing to invest in infrastructure, broadband and control utility costs.

“The Government appears to have become complacent with no attempts being made to identify jobs at risk or to intervene to try to save them,” Mr Gilmore said.

“The Government and the various State agencies need to address this problem as a matter of urgency.”

Ruth Croke, IDA spokesperson, disagreed insisting the cuts were not a reflection on the Irish economy.

“The company took this decision to remain sustainable for the future in a highly competitive industry,” she said.

“The ICT sector continues to be strong and we would expect further investment. The cuts are not an an indicator of decline in manufacturing and it’s certainly no reflection on Ireland’s economic environment.”

IDA said the job losses were regrettable and offered to assist those affected find new work.

Dell currently employs 4,500 workers in Ireland. Between 180 and 200 jobs will go at the Cherrywood centre and the rest in Limerick.

The company said the cuts came after all areas of the business had been evaluated and management put forward a €3bn plan to drive productivity and efficiency in its worldwide business.

The cuts will be made over the next few months.

Arthur Morgan, Sinn Féin workers’ rights spokesman, said it highlighted a deepening crisis in the economy.

“The fact that these job losses are high level jobs in a sector that is seen as growing is quite alarming,” the Louth TD said.

Sinn Féin called on the Government to offer immediate help and training to workers affected.

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