The news that 120 jobs are to be lost in Borrisoleigh has left the North Tipperary town stunned and shocked.
Sean Shanahan, who runs the local Centra, said the news has left local families reeling. "The plant is the largest employer in the area and this latest announcement will have a real knock on affect on all business owners in Borrisoleigh and further afield," he said.
"Staff seemed to have heard the news the same way as everyone else through the media and there is a general feeling of disappointment about the manner in which they were informed," said Sean who added that the first he heard of the job losses was on the radio yesterday morning.
"We had absolutely no idea. There was no talk of further job losses and there was even talk at Christmas that things were safe for another 12 months," says Sean.
Deputy Michael Lowry has been in contact with staff, and Siptu, since the troubles at the plant began to emerge last year. “The situation is utterly shocking and disrespectful to the Borrisoleigh work force. Since the takeover of Gleesons by C&C, I have questioned their motivations. From the onset there has been great difficulty with C&C to outline any business plan for the Borrisoleigh plant.
“Since the change of ownership, C&C have been reluctant to hold any meaningful engagement with employees and to communicate future plans for the Borrisoleigh site. After much aggravation they eventually agreed to recognise the Union SIPTU, but even then the company information was sparse,” said Deputy Lowry.
“The plant in Borrisoleigh was gradually diluted through the reduction of manufacturing jobs by voluntary redundancies and by the diversion of sales and administration to Belfast in Northern Ireland. The centralizing of management to the UK office saw the closing of their logistics office with this function outsourced to the private sector and the long destabilised practice of local management of plant, discontinued.” Deputy Lowry stated “Effectively what we are witnessing here is closure by stealth. The future of the company to properly communicate with staff is deplorable. C&C have been disingenuous with regard to their real intentions regarding the Borrisoleigh site. Their method of doing business, their conduct and overall behaviour is nothing short of despicable.
“The Gleeson plant is synonymous with the village of Borrisoleigh and its people for generations have been the heartbeat of this local economy. This action by C&C will have a devastating impact on the workers and their dependent families in the entire community. It is ironic that the company has been working 3 shifts to meet demand and that the plant has made substantial profits during its 2015 operations. C+C are a publically listed company, driven by shareholder demands. The human costs of this heartless decision are not regarded as a deciding factor. It would appear, ‘nothing must be allowed get in the way of profits’. I wish to convey my complete support with all employees affected by this sudden announcement and respectfully request that C&C now enter into meaningful negotiations with staff, management and Union representatives in an effort to resolve these matters” concluded Michael Lowry T.D.