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Coronavirus: Temporary leave for 560 people at car parts maker Ryobi in Carrickfergus

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Ryobi’s clients include Jaguar

Ryobi’s clients include Jaguar

Ryobi’s clients include Jaguar

More than 550 workers at the Co Antrim premises of car parts maker Ryobi have been put on temporary leave until early next month.

According to reports, staff in the Carrickfergus plant of the Japanese company were told of the plan at 3pm on Monday.

It is understood workers have been offered 80% of their usual wages during the shutdown - a move that mirrors Chancellor Rishi Sunak's announcement of a job retention scheme last week.

The scheme involves the Government reimbursing companies for 80% of the wages which would be paid to staff who have been furloughed.

But at least some employees at Ryobi are expected to oppose the wages plan on the basis that the Chancellor's proposal should be regarded as a subvention, with companies to pay the remaining 20%.

Ryobi is the latest firm to make major lay-offs after as many as 10,000 jobs were lost last week, with the hospitality industry the hardest hit.

The firm makes components for the motor industry, with clients including Jaguar, Land Rover, Volkswagen and Ford.

According to a report in the Irish News, the 560 staff have been laid off until at least April 3.

Ryobi did not return a request for comment.

Stephen Kelly, chief executive of Manufacturing NI, said producers of car parts had been hard hit as there had been a shutdown of all the major manufacturers around Europe.

Other companies to announce temporary lay-offs include ship fit-out firm MJM Marine in Newry and hospitality giant Beannchor Group, which owns the Merchant Hotel.

Beannchor said yesterday its staff would be retained under the job scheme. A spokeswoman added: "We welcome the announcement from the Government regarding the coronavirus job retention scheme.

"Protecting the jobs of our 800-plus employees in the long term was at the heart of the difficult decision we had to make last week to temporarily lay off staff.

"Our staff were aware that they remained our employees and that we had not made a decision to make any redundancies."

She said that while full information about the scheme was not available, "we will be ensuring staff receive a minimum of 80% of their wages, as guaranteed by the scheme".

"All our employees continue to remain employed by Beannchor and at this juncture all jobs right across the group are safe and payroll dates remain unchanged," she explained.

Belfast Telegraph