Caterpillar - ‘Monkstown plant could close’

The Caterpillar factory in Monkstown.  Photo: Jonathan Porter/Press Eye
The Caterpillar factory in Monkstown. Photo: Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Caterpillar is considering the closure of its Monkstown factory - as a result some 250 people across Northern Ireland could lose their jobs.

The company is considering a restructuring of its operations in Northern Ireland, including the potential closure of the Monkstown facility and consolidation of logistics in Larne and Springvale.

The company is also considering discontinuing production of 25-ton and larger material handlers in Northern Ireland, including the planned launch of large material handler models for Europe.

This restructuring is part of the company’s ongoing plans to reduce cost in response to current economic and business conditions.

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The contemplated closure may also impact Caterpillar’s Larne and Springvale facilities.

Workers leave the Caterpillar factory in Monkstown outside. Picture: Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Workers leave the Caterpillar factory in Monkstown outside. Picture: Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

If finalised, production for electric power generator sets in Monkstown would be consolidated into Larne and production of truck axles will move into Springvale.

Today’s announcement reflects not only restructuring, but also continued lower demand. These actions could result in the reduction of between 200 to 250 production, support and management positions across the Northern Ireland facilities.

If finalised, the transition is expected to begin this year and be completed in the next 12 to 24 months.

“We recognise that what we are considering is difficult for our employees, their families and the communities where they live and work. Despite these contemplated actions, we remain committed to Northern Ireland. In fact, these potential changes would make us more efficient and competitive over the longer term as we adapt to the weak market conditions,” said Tom Frake, Caterpillar vice president with responsibilities for Global Power Solutions.

The Caterpillar operation at Monkstown in Newtownabbey is facing closure. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

The Caterpillar operation at Monkstown in Newtownabbey is facing closure. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

Robert Kennedy, Caterpillar’s director of operations in Northern Ireland adds, “The difficult actions we are considering in Northern Ireland are not a reflection of the quality of our dedicated workforce, the support of the local community, nor the business climate in Northern Ireland.”

The contemplated decision to discontinue production of 25-ton and larger material handlers in Europe reflects weak economic conditions. Some material handler design work will also be impacted at Caterpillar facilities in Aurora and Peoria, Illinois. These potential actions are consistent with Caterpillar’s focus to invest in products with the greatest growth potential and best long-term returns. Caterpillar will continue to offer material handlers below 25 tons, which are part of the wheeled excavator product line.

After consultation with employees and their representatives, any redundant employees will receive severance packages from the company and outplacement services from appropriate agencies to ensure they have support during this transition.

About Caterpillar

For 90 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. Customers turn to Caterpillar to help them develop infrastructure, energy and natural resource assets. With 2015 sales and revenues of $47.011 billion, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company principally operates through its three product segments - Construction Industries, Resource Industries and Energy & Transportation - and also provides financing and related services through its Financial Products segment. For more information, visit caterpillar.com. To connect with us on social media, visit caterpillar.com/social-media.

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