Representatives of trade union Siptu will meet Pfizer management on Friday afternoon in the wake of the recent 150 job losses announcement .
Organiser Frank Jones, who is based in Newbridge, said these are the best jobs that Newbridge has to offer.
“We expect to get an explaination from management as to how they arrived at their figures,” he said.
“There was a decision made to move packaging from Newbridge to Freiberg in Germany and a decision taken locally that the plant would be more efficent with less operators. The figures don’t add up. They announced 150 job losses in 2014 but also the closure of packaging by the end of 2015. The head count in pacakaging is to be reduced by 24. There are 75 operators as well as managers, supervisiors and crafts people.”
The SIPTU organiser also slammed the timing of the news just ‘a couple of weeks before Christmas’.
“These decisons were made months ago,” he added. “We got landed with it a couple of weeks before Christmas. This has nothing to do with wage costs. Packaging is to go to higher wage economy in Germany. They also announced that there would be no pay increases in 2014. It was in bad taste to bring that up at the announcement.”
According to SIPTU the pool of workers who will accept a voluntary redundancy package is at most a dozen due to the last round of cuts which saw 275 employees be made redundant in 2010 over a three year period.
“We have never had a compulsory redundancy,” he said. “This will be a new development. We will ensure that the compulsory package will be better than the voluntary. There is little appetite for voluntary - less than a dozen. It is a real pity that management don’t talk to us beforehand we would recommend job sharing or unpaid leave instead of cuts. We should be allowed a position at the table.”
It was also announced on Wednesday however that Newbridge is likely to benefit from cuts elsewhere in the Pfizer network. The group last month announced the closure of a site in Puerto Rico.
That additional work is not likely to arrive until 2015 at the earliest.
The company’s statement meanwhile promised continued investment in ‘specialised product technologies’ with the transfer production of ‘some such products into Newbridge over the next few years’.