Belfast Telegraph

Up to '140 jobs could go' at Northern Ireland operations of manufacturing giant Caterpillar, says union

By John Mulgrew

As many as 140 jobs could be lost at manufacturing giant Caterpillar NI, one union has claimed.

It's understood the company - formerly FG Wilson - is in talks with staff over 65 proposed voluntary redundancies.

It's believed the redundancies will be split between sites at Larne, Monkstown and Springvale.

But according to the union Unite, a further 75 temporary agency workers are also facing the chop.

A spokesman for Caterpillar NI said:

"Current weaknesses in the economies of some key markets are impacting on demand for some of our products.

"The company is therefore taking appropriate measures during this time to help ensure the competitiveness of the business. We will continue to closely monitor the economic environment and will continue to communicate with employees."

Speaking today, Davy Thompson of Unite said the organisation was "very disappointed" by the job losses.

"The timing of this announcement is particularly difficult for the workforce coming in the mouth of Christmas," he said.

"Unite is committed to securing the very best possible terms for all our members affected by this decision."

Caterpillar is the largest manufacturer in Europe of diesel and gas generating sets and associated equipment.

The announcement comes after the firm slashed its workforce in September 2012.

The firm - which was bought over from FG Wilson in 1999 - made the cuts after it announced it was transferring the manufacture of smaller generator sets from Larne to its plant in China.

It blamed a slowdown in the global demand for its diesel generator sets for the job cuts.

The reported job losses are the latest to hit manufacturing in Northern Ireland - with industry stalwarts announcing a series of big staff cuts this year.

Last month it was announced that 876 jobs were set to go Ballymena cigarette maker JTI Gallaher's - which has been producing tobacco for more than 150 years.

In September, aircraft maker Bombardier announced it was cutting almost 400 jobs at its Belfast base.

Further reading:

Company report: Caterpillar (NI) - generating better pre-tax profits

Union proposal to save 500 jobs at Gallaher's: Ballymena cigarette factory to close by 2017

£5.4m Caterpillar boost as firm targets further deals 

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