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Around 200 jobs to go with closure of Schlumberger in Newtownabbey

By John Mulgrew

Around 200 jobs could go with the closure of a Schlumberger's plant in Co Antrim.

According to the trade union Unite, the oil firm is closing the plant in Newtownabbey, despite attempts from management to retain it.

In November, the company at the time said that no decision had been made as a consultation was taking place with its workforce.

The union will meet tomorrow to decide next steps in response to rejection of rescue bid, it said.

Susan Fitzgerald, Unite regional officer for Schlumberger, said:

“This decision demonstrates very clearly that corporate profits are the only determinant when it comes to Schlumberger corporate management.

“Today they confirmed to workforce representatives that they had rejected a local management counterproposal which offered a way to save some of the jobs on site through production diversification.

“The proposal would have resulted in a significant increase in operating utilisation rates but was rejected by a corporate management who remain intent on offshoring production to low cost centres in Mexico and China and back to the United States.”

Schlumberger commented: "In October Schlumberger announced that it was considering a proposal to cease manufacturing, assembly and test activities at its Belfast facility in Newtownabbey.

"Following an extensive consultation period, it is with great regret, that Schlumberger can confirm that the centre will cease production around June 2018.

"The Belfast facility has been in our company for almost 20 years and has been valued for its expertise and dedicated workforce. The decision to close the centre has not been made lightly, and multiple options and proposals were considered.

"Due to the prolonged industry downturn, we have had to restructure our manufacturing organisation in line with current and anticipated future activity which has resulted in closures in the Americas, Europe and Asia."

Schlumberger added: "Our employees are our priority and every effort will be made to support those affected.

"The announcement in no way reflects the commitment and efforts of our employees who could not have done more for our business."

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