Jobs threat looms over Newbridge Pfizer plant
THREATS of job cuts and a possible plant closure will loom over the employees of the Pfizer (formerly Wyeth) manufacturing plant in Newbridge until August at the very latest.
Rumours of the cutbacks as part of a global cost cutting exercise have surrounded the former Wyeth Medica Ireland plant since it was taken over in a E45 billion deal by Pfizer late last year.
A spokesperson for the plant, which currently employs 1,000 people locally, could only confirm that an announcement concerning the future of the company is expected at the end of second quarter of this year.
"Any rumours are simply rumours," said Tara Delaney, Director of External Affairs and Communications Pfizer (Ireland) for Pfizer Global Manufacturing.
"Nothing has been finalised and it is public knowledge that these reviews are ongoing."
A statement released to the Leinster Leader confirmed that Pfizer Global Manufacturing is carrying out a cost cutting review of all its global sites in line with Pfizer's projected manufacturing requirements.
"The purpose is to align plant network capacity with anticipated market demand and to provide a competitive advantage to Pfizer," it read.
"Role recommendations for major sites, including plant divestitures (sale of business holdings) or closures, are expected to be announced by the end of the second quarter of this year. Any recent rumours of plant closures are simply that, just rumours."
A spokesperson for the 400 SIPTU (Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union) workers on the site, Adrian Kane, said they are hopeful that the plant will remain open.
"It is not pleasant for people working under these conditions and it would be better if we knew where we stood," the union representative said.
"But we are hopeful that the plant will remain open."
The E45 billion take over of Wyeth meant Pfizer became Ireland's biggest foreign direct investment employer, with more than 5,000 employees at the time.
Wyeth, which opened its doors in Newbridge in 1992 and specialised in animal as well as human health, employed more than 3,000 people at locations in Newbridge, Dublin, Sligo and Limerick at the time of the take over.
Back in 2007 Wyeth completed a n300 million expansion investment at the Newbridge site, with the support of IDA Ireland.
Pfizer, which is best known for making Viagra, also employs 2,100 people in Cork and Dublin.
The merger was expected to lead to up to 20,000 job losses worldwide and employees at the Newbridge plant will have a long wait over the summer to hear if they will keep their jobs.
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