Belfast Telegraph

Avaya workers could face a ‘bleak future’

By Michael McCready

The news that Avaya is considering closing its plant in Monkstown has left workers with a ‘bleak future’, an employee has claimed.

The firm bought over the stricken Enterprise Division of Nortel days before Christmas but has revealed it could be pulling the plug on its Northern Ireland operation.

It means that 140 workers at the Monkstown site who had told their jobs were secure could now be faced with joining the province’s ever growing dole queue.

One worker, who did not want to be named, said: “This is a real blow, especially after Avaya just bought it over at Christmas.

“We are now very fearful. We are facing up to a bleak future.”

Unite’s regional organiser Sean Smyth said workers were given false hope.

“Our workers have been led up the garden path — they’ve been given false hope that they had jobs and their jobs were secured,” he said.

“They spent money over Christmas time and the credit cards dropped on the doormat last week.”

The former Nortel employees were told by the company’s new managers as little as two weeks ago that the future of the site was bright, the union claimed. However, Avaya has said the plant could be closed by June.

Alderman Nigel Hamilton said: “The news of the threat to jobs at the recently acquired Avaya site in Monkstown brings further bad news to the workforce.

“The public announcement that they are considering closure of the Enterprise Division is bad news for the workers and while the good news before Christmas was light at the end of the tunnel Avaya have by its statement threatened to snuff that light out.

“Clearly, the next few weeks will be crucial and I will be only too happy to offer my support to the union and workers in this process.”

Councillor Billy Webb said: “It is a devastating blow for the economy and the area.

“I hope something can be sorted out for the workers.”

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said Invest NI was continuing to build relationships with Avaya.

“I understand that local employees have been verbally briefed about Avaya's intention to consolidate as part of a European restructuring plan,” she said.

“At this stage, it is not clear what exactly this means for Northern Ireland but Invest NI continues to build relationships with Avaya, including working very closely with local management, to position Northern Ireland as strongly as possible.”

In a statement Avaya said: “Avaya has entered a consultation process following the strategic business decision to potentially close the Monkstown office.”

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