Caterpillar has announced that around 100 jobs are to go across its three sites in Monkstown, Larne and West Belfast.
The firm, which makes generators, released a statement saying: “Current weaknesses in the economies of some key markets are impacting on global demand for a number of our products. The company is therefore taking necessary measures during this time to help support the competitiveness and sustainability of the business for the future. This includes reducing our permanent workforce by approximately 50 positions and releasing approximately 50 agency workers. We know this is difficult for our employees and their families, and resources will be provided to assist impacted employees during this transition.”
Commenting on the latest job cuts, East Antrim MLA Alastair Ross said: “It has been an incredibly difficult time for manufacturing in the Mid and East Antrim area with a number of job losses in recent times. The news today that Caterpillar is to let 100 workers go across sites in Larne, Monkstown and Belfast further compounds that bad news. “Over the past number of years the workforce at Caterpillar has fluctuated up and down as the company competes in what is still a very challenging global market.
“Whilst the company will be seeking voluntary redundancies in the first instance, many people will be heading into the Christmas period knowing that they will be out of work and looking for new employment opportunities.
“It is important that workers impacted are supported and that Invest NI continues to offer assistance to the company to help them improve competitiveness in the market and assist in attracting new production lines to the Caterpillar sites.”
Davy Thompson, Unite Regional Coordinating Officer, called on the Northern Ireland Executive to take action to tackle the “crisis” in the manufacturing sector.
“In the last year, there have been significant job loss announcements at Bombardier-Shorts and Caterpillar, who shed 140 jobs this time last year; as well as closures announced by Michelin, JTI and Sirocco. In total, 2,500 high-value manufacturing jobs have been lost in the last year. The net impact of these losses is likely to multiplied three times when indirect and induced jobs lost are included.
“Those who say manufacturing in Northern Ireland is not in crisis are in denial. The apathy and inaction that have characterised the NI Executive’s approach to manufacturing must end now,” he commented.