Nearly 600 workers at the Co Antrim premises of manufacturer Ryobi have been put on temporary leave until early next month, it has emerged.
According to reports, staff in the Carrickfergus plant of the Japanese company were told of the plan at 3pm on Monday.
It’s understood staff have been offered 80% of their usual wages during the shutdown - a move which mirrors Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement last week that the government would pay companies 80% of staff wages following temporary lay-offs.
But at least some staff are expected to oppose the wages plan, on the basis that the Chancellor’s plan is for 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 hardest-hit.
Ryobi 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 has not returned 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 car manufacturers around Europe.
Other companies to announce temporary lay-offs include ship fit-out firm MJM Marine in Newry, and Beannchor Group, the hospitality giant which owns venues including The Merchant and Bullitt Hotels. Around 800 staff at Beannchor have been laid off.