Workers at FG Wilson are to be laid off on half pay on a temporary basis as the engineering firm continues to struggle with a sharp drop in orders
The Larne-based generator manufacturer, which is owned by US construction machinery giant Caterpillar, has not revealed how many employees will be affected.
It is the latest piece of grim news for the firm which has already axed around 600 full-time and agency jobs since December and last month unveiled plans to impose a 10% pay cut and put remaining workers on a four day week. FG Wilson has factories in Larne, Springvale and Monkstown.
In a statement, the company said: “Last week FG Wilson confirmed to employees and their representatives the need to introduce a programme of layoffs beginning June 1. The purpose is to minimise the need for compulsory redundancies and to retain people and skills necessary for FG Wilson’s long-term success.
“In order to alleviate the impact of this on employees, the company has decided to pay each affected employee 50% of his or her current daily basic rate of pay for each day of layoff. In addition, employees have the option of using annual leave to cover the unpaid 50% of the layoff day.”
It added: “Fifty per cent of hourly paid employees will be laid off for between three and six working days between June 1 and July 10.”
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster revealed earlier this week that the firm had received £24m in grants from Invest NI since being taken over by Caterpillar in 1999.
The minister said FG Wilson had increased its staff levels from 2,000 in 1999 to a peak of 3,500 in 2008, before falling back to around 2,400 as a result of the recession.
It has blamed a marked decline in orders for the generators it produces for the job cuts, noting that many of its clients from the construction, automotive and manufacturing sectors have also been hit by falling demand during the credit crunch.
The company makes gas and diesel generator sets which can supply anything from homes to power stations.