Belfast Telegraph

Sensata Technologies to close Carrick site with 270 jobs lost

The Sensata Technologies Schradar factory in Carrickfergus
The Sensata Technologies Schradar factory in Carrickfergus
Jonathan Bell

Jonathan Bell

Sensata Technologies has announced the closure of its Carrickfergus site with the loss of almost 300 jobs.

The company makes tyre pressure monitoring systems and was previously Schrader Electronics.

It blamed a drop in demand for its products for the decision.

It has had a significant manufacturing and research and development presence in Northern Ireland since its 2014 acquisition of Schrader, which was founded in 1988.

It has been considered a world leader in the design and manufacture of valve, mechanical and electronic system components and sensing technologies.

The company has 1,178 employees in Northern Ireland. The Carrick site is to close in early 2021 following a consultation with employees.

A small number of jobs at its second Antrim site will also be affected.

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In total 270 jobs have been lost. The local council has put its rapid redundancy response plan into action.

DUP MP Sammy Wilson described the announcement as a "serious blow".

"It represents a very bleak start to the year for many families in the area and my thoughts are with all those who are employed at the plant and who now face an uncertain future," he said.

Yann Etienvre, senior vice president, global operations at Sensata said: “As a company we are facing a perfect storm of European market conditions which have led to a significant drop in demand for the product lines currently manufactured in Carrickfergus.

“There has been a well-documented fall in the global automotive industry and this has been further heightened by consolidation in our market, with existing customers being absorbed into large entities whose manufacturing processes use alternative products to our own.

“We had anticipated that a proposed tightening of European TPMS legislation would drive increased demand for direct sensing systems and, as a result, increased demand for TPMS products. Unfortunately, this has not happened as indirect sensing solutions continue to be permitted by the European authorities. In response we have had to review our organisational model.

“The proposed closure of our Carrickfergus site has been a very difficult decision for the company to make, and a number of actions were implemented to try to avoid reaching this point.

“Our focus now is on providing support to the affected employees and their families through the consultation period. To that end we have engaged external consultants LHH Penna to provide career transition advice and assistance for all affected employees.”

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has said support will be available to workers with its rapid redundancy response contingency put into action. The council will discuss the matter on Monday night.

Councillor Gregg McKeen, chair of council’s borough growth committee, described the news as a terrible blow to staff and their families, and to the economy of Carrickfergus and the wider Mid and East Antrim area.

The council area has been dealt a series of blows to its economy with the jobs losses at JTI Gallaher's factory, Michelin and the recent administration of Wrightbus - which was later saved by industrialist Jo Bamford.

“Today’s announcement is a devastating one for the 270 staff, the town and the entire Mid and East Antrim Borough," he said.

“Sensata Technologies has long been a major player in the local economy as one of Northern Ireland’s biggest manufacturing companies, so the closure of the site in Carrickfergus is a body blow for the area.

“That said, council will put its shoulder to the wheel and provide a package of support to the workers affected by this news, in the same way that Wrightbus workers were supported when they faced difficult times last year.

“I, along with the council chief executive, will be working to keep the gates open and to mitigate the impact of this development for all those affected."

Mr Etienvre reiterated the company’s commitment to maintaining and growing its engineering capabilities in Northern Ireland.

He said: “Sensata Technologies remains committed to our Northern Ireland operation. We continue to manufacture products at our Antrim site and we are on target with our plans to develop an R&D centre of excellence there.

"This investment in new products and a new technology centre will result in the creation of additional jobs in the next two years.”

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