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Former Nortel staff face dole queue again

A total of 30 workers, many of whom were left jobless after the collapse of Nortel, have been told they face redundancy just a week before Christmas.

Kuehne + Nagel, which has a logistics base in Carrickfergus, has told workers their business is to be transferred to German company Geis Dietzenbach.

Geis is set to take over the business early in 2012.

Canadian firm Nortel dismissed 228 employees, including 90-plus in Newtownabbey, without notice or redundancy pay in March 2009 after the firm went into administration in January 2009.

The 34-acre Monkstown facility employed as many as 1,000 people at its peak.

Unite union representative Sean Smyth said that the announcement of the news marked "a sad day in what has been a very sad year for Northern Ireland".

"Lots of these guys were left without a job when Nortel went and they thought that their luck had changed when they got work with Kuehne + Nagel, which was a subsidiary company," he said.

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"Things were already bad, but this decision has truly turned the Carrick area into an unemployment blackspot. It is terrible news at any time of the year but the week before Christmas makes it even worse.

"The employees have been told that all work is transferring to Germany, but, of course, with families and other commitments and with other money worries none can afford to relocate and so have decided to take the redundancy.

"The only good thing about the whole situation is that Kuehne + Nagel has promised to pay redundancies, unlike Nortel who left workers high and dry and put them out on the street with nothing.

"There have been hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs lost in Northern Ireland over the past few years but that is manufacturing jobs alone - in the supply chain and in the logistics business there have been many more job losses so the real figure must be huge."

The Kuehne + Nagel Group, founded in Bremen, Germany in 1890, has more than 900 offices in over 100 countries, with over 60,000 employees.

A spokeswoman from the group said that the firm supplies a logistics depot for a third party provider, who has now signified that they wish to move their business elsewhere.