Belfast Telegraph

Caterpillar cuts fallout: 'People won't be able to feed their families'

By Rachel Martin

The mood in Larne, where employees were told their factory would be safe, was one of relief tinged with fears for the future.

"It could have been so much worse," said one worker.

But despite staying operational and avoiding the worst of the cuts, the Larne plant will not escape completely and redundancies will still roll out across all three Caterpillar sites.

Workers in the port town were called into a meeting with management at 2pm where they were told the company was asking for up to 250 voluntary redundancies. It went on for 40 minutes.

Workers coming out of the meeting said they had been asked not to speak to the Press.

Afterwards, employees were told they could leave early.

Asking not to be named, several told the Belfast Telegraph they expected the cuts to be even deeper and were relieved to be have kept their jobs.

"It's a disgrace - an absolute disgrace," one worker shouted from his car as he left.

Another employee said: "It's someone's first home that they won't be able to afford, someone's family that they won't be able to feed."

But it is not just direct employees who will suffer.

Father and son James McClean jnr and snr run a mechanic's workshop yards from the Larne plant's main entrance. They said they were worried about the firm's future.

James McClean snr said: "We will hurt because of this. Every time there are job losses at Caterpillar it affects our business.

"We lost a lot of customers with the last set of job losses at the plant and we expect this will be the same."

James jnr (19) added: "There's no jobs at all in Larne, so it will be hard for anyone who is made redundant to find other work."

Belfast Telegraph