Ulster Carpets in Portadown last night announced “with great regret” that it was being forced to shed 35 jobs.
The textile company said it had no alternative but to cut back as a result of the economic downturn. But it said it hoped to avoid any compulsory redundancies in the downsizing of its 400-strong workforce.
Managing director Nick Coburn said the company was communicating with all employees and had started the statutory consultation with the trade union.
He said the downturn had impacted on Ulster Carpets’ order book. He said: “We make this announcement with great regret and after all other options have been exhausted.
“The reality is that the financial turmoil has taken a heavy toll on consumers and businesses leading to a need to cut production levels for the foreseeable future.”
Mr Coburn said the company was offering “an extensive redundancy package” with an enhanced element and ex-gratia payment.
And he said that counselling and training for new job applications would be provided for anyone affected by the redundancies.
But Ulster Carpets maintained that despite the downturn, investment would continue to be made in the plant at Garvaghy Road.
A statement said: “As a market leader involved a wide range of technological developments, Ulster Carpets continues to recruit specialist skills from within the province.
“Two new state of the art plain Wilton looms are to be installed in early 2009 as part of a major investment initiative to widen product appeal in the retail market.”
Ulster Carpets has operated in Portadown for 70 years and has a plan to eventually move all operations to a single location on one of its sites in the town.
As reported in Business Telegraph yesterday, the proposal involves relocation to a 20-acre greenfield site on the outskirts of the town. Although the plans have been set in place, a firm date for the start of work on the new plant has not yet been identified.
Ulster Carpets, which is among the leading employers in Portadown, employed more than 1,500 at the plant in 2002, but since then the numbers have dwindled.
The company recently became the first textile company in the UK to achieve the Carbon Trust standard for reducing emissions.