Caterpillar job losses 'devastating blow'

Unite blasts 700 job losses at Caterpillar sites across Northern Ireland as a 'scandalous profit grab'

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Caterpillar’s announcement of plans for up to 700 job losses is a devastating blow to Northern Ireland manufacturing and Larne area economy, Unite has said.

The union has blasted the decision as a ‘scandalous’ profit grab at the expense of workers in Northern Ireland as production is set to be outsourced to India.

Unite noted that urgent action is needed from Stormont, which must use all available economic and political levers to safeguard highly-skilled and vital manufacturing jobs.

Unite regional officer George Brash responded to this morning’s announcement of up to 700 redundancies at Caterpillar sites across Northern Ireland.

“This announcement comes as devastating news to the Caterpillar workforce,” he said. “In the midst of the current downturn, the news comes as a severe blow to Northern Ireland manufacturing and the wider economy – most especially that in the Larne area.

“Caterpillar has informed the union of up to 700 job-losses across its sites the bulk of which are at shop-floor level and at the Product Support & Logistics Division (PSLD) in Larne as well as among management and administrative staff working elsewhere. Bosses admit that this is not Covid-related but part of a wider restructuring.”

“This is a scandalous decision geared only to increase further the company’s corporate profits,” Brash continued. “We understand that much of the production being lost is to be outsourced to India. Last year the company posted profits of more than $17 billion dollars but clearly that is not enough. They are seeking to make even more money at the cost of their workforce in Northern Ireland.

“I will be meeting workplace reps this afternoon to discuss our next steps,” he added. “Unite will seek to use the minimum ninety day consultation period to fight to defend these jobs and the important skill base they represent. It is vital that we retain as much of this productive capacity as possible. These are very highly-skilled manufacturing jobs and they will not be easily recovered.

“It is vital that the Stormont Executive respond to the crisis in our manufacturing sector. They need to intervene with every political and economic lever at their control to safeguard jobs and sustain manufacturing capacity – as well as developing the manufacturing jobs for the future.”

By Donal O’Cofaigh

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