There was more proof the economic slump is hurting Northern Ireland yesterday as car parts maker Montupet announced plans to axe 40 jobs at its Dunmurry plant.
The French-owned company, which employs more than 450 people in Dunmurry, blamed the redundancies on a sharp fall in car sales by customers Ford and Peugeot.
“Montupet regrets having to take these current measures to adjust production to the reduced customer demand, and recognises the impact it will have on employees.
“However, we believe it is vital to react now to ensure the long-term future of the company.”
Management has met with trade union Unite and entered a 30 day consultation period, during which it will also discuss plans for an extended period of short-time or reduced working hours in the first half of the year.
The jobs at risk include 36 hourly-paid workers and four salaried staff.
Terry Collins from Unite said the chances of reducing the number of job losses during consultation did not look good. \[Michael Hall\]“Unfortunately we are all aware of the significant problems in the car industry.
“They have indicated a substantial downturn in their forecasts for 2009, in some departments up to 40% below what they had hoped to produce,” he said.
SDLP Councillor Brian Heading called the news a serious blow for families.
“This is a serious blow to those families and the local Assembly must act to reduce the impact of any redundancies in the area,” he said.
The cutbacks follow an extended Christmas break at the plant, as well as job cuts announced in November at Montupet subsidiary Calcast in Londonderry.
Meanwhile, Unite said it had been able to reach agreement with Carrickfergus car parts manufacturer Ryobi to reduce redundancies that were announced before Christmas from 99 to 43.