Caterpillar staff await update on company’s future

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Workers in three Northern Ireland factories operated by US generator maker Caterpillar are braced for a significant announcement regarding jobs.

The Times understands night-shifts have been cancelled, with staff told to expect official news tomorrow.

Concerns have been raised that up to 40 per cent of its workforce may be cut.

The company is the world’s largest manufacturer of heavy equipment and has local operations in Larne, Monkstown and west Belfast.

The firm has shed more than 1,000 posts in Northern Ireland since 2011.

It has already axed thousands of jobs worldwide since last year and has suffered heavy losses in mining equipment sales amid a global industry slump.