“My job is gone - I have been working here for 17 years, it is devastating,”
These are the words of local Pfizer employee Linda Mannion, speaking outside the plant in Newbridge this morning after the announcement that 150 jobs will go next year.
“It is pretty sombre in there and morale is quite low - people are in a state of shock. We knew that there was going to be an announcemnt but we thought we would hear in January, not weeks before Christmas. It has been a good place to work but today it is miserable. It is really a blow to Newbridge. These are worrying times. People are not in the mood to do anything but they are taking it on the chin and it is business as usual.”
The 670 employees at the plant were called to a meeting with management at 8.30am this morning, Wednesday December 4, when they were informed of the job losses and of company plans to shut down all packaging operations in Newbridge by 2015.
A company statement released afterwards linked the redundancies to a “reduction in manufacturing volumes” as well as the impact of the patent expiration of a number of Pfizer’s key medicines.
It also stated that measures had to be taken in order to remain competitive in the future global market.
“I work in packaging so my job is gone,” added Linda, who is 41 and lives nearby. “People have a month to decide if they want to go voluntarily or involuntarily. People are figuring out what is going to happen over the next year.”
As she was talking to the Leinster Leader a passerby, who introduced himself as simply a neighbour, shook his head in disbelief at the news.
“I live around here,” he said. “It is terrible news.”
Employees will now enter into a consultation process. Newbridge is the only Pfizer site nationwide to announce job losses. Some 275 employees have been laid off at the plant in Newbridge since 2010.
The site in Newbridge which was opened in 1992, and was formely owned by pharmaceutical giant Wyeth. It specialises in the global exports of oral dose manufacturing, producing some 3 billion tablets and capsules and 55 million packs annually.
David O’Reilly, President of Newbridge Chamber said it was “terrible timing” in the run up to Chrismas from the largest employer in town.
“I expect more job losses from this,” he said. “Every job lost is another gone elsewhere. This is the worst time of year to get this type of news. Newbridge has had a tough couple of months with the collapse of the Credit Union. This is devastating for Newbridge.”
A commitment was, however, given by the compamy to “continue to invest” in Newbridge over the next few years.
“Obviously this announcement has a significant impact for our colleagues,” said Dave Cagney, site leader.
“We will provide them with support to help prepare for the challenges ahead. I want to acknowledge our colleagues for their dedication and commitment, particularly in implementing our competitiveness program. The Newbridge site remains an important manufacturing site within the Pfizer Global Supply network playing a key role in the manufacture of specialised oral dose pharmaceutical products. One of Pfizer’s newest medicines in women’s health that was just approved by the US FDA is being manufactured for global supply from Newbridge,”