Belfast Telegraph

Over 800 jobs going at Irish pharmaceutical and electronics firms

By Ralph Riegel

One of Ireland's main pharmaceutical employers, Novartis, is to axe 320 jobs as part of a major restructuring of its Irish operation.

Novartis, which employs more than 1,000 people across Ireland, confirmed the job losses at a meeting of workers at its main Ringaskiddy plant in Cork at 8.15am yesterday.

The meeting was called just hours after US electronics firm, Molex, confirmed the loss of almost 500 jobs in Clare with the closure of its Shannon plant next year.

Irish industry was reeling from the prospective loss of more than 800 jobs in the space of just 24 hours.

Novartis has two major operations on the same campus in Ringaskiddy - a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant and a joint services operation.

A third facility on Cork's Model Farm Road is no longer operated by the firm.

Novartis also has a Dublin-based shared services operation but this will be unaffected by the planned cuts.

The cuts will involve 240 job losses within its Ringaskiddy manufacturing plant and a further 80 job losses in the Cork-based shared services division.

The 80 job losses are expected to take place by 2020/2021. The 240 manufacturing jobs are set to be shed by 2021-2022.

Tanaiste Simon Coveney, who is a Cork South Central TD for the Ringaskiddy area, expressed his shock at the Novartis job losses.

"This news is a significant blow and very difficult for the highly skilled workers of Novartis and their families," he said.

"The staff are highly skilled in the competitive pharmaceutical industry and the state agencies will use the three-year timeline laid out by Novartis to work with the company and the workers to protect employment."

Workers acknowledged that they had expected bad news but were relieved to hear the Swiss firm will retain its Cork manufacturing presence.

Joe Barry, who has worked for Novartis for 18 years, said the firm had been great employers.

"We knew things were coming down the line," he said.

"I work in the API (manufacturing section). It is kind of a global thing really - it is the way the pharmaceutical firms are going, smaller volume which is contracted out to whoever can do it cheaper," he said.

Belfast Telegraph