Saturday, March 2, 2024

Proposed closure of Portadown factory comes as ‘shocking blow to workforce’

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Around 500 jobs are at risk here.

Around 500 jobs are at risk in Northern Ireland.

Author: Hannah PattersonPublished 11 hours ago

Around 500 jobs are at risk in Northern Ireland.

It’s after both a BT call centre in Enniskillen and a Glen Dimplex factory in Portadown have announced proposed closures.

It has been reported employees from a BT call centre in Enniskillen, which employs around 300 people, have been told it may close later this year.

Though BT group says no final decision has been made.

A spokesperson for BT group told CoolFM/Downtown: “BT Group is undergoing a major transformation and investment for the future (The Better Workplace Programme), which involves consolidating desk workers into a smaller number of office locations around the UK. We wanted to notify our colleagues as early as possible and to offer them a voluntary paid leaver scheme. We have shared these details with colleagues yesterday, and we will continue to support them going forward.”

Glen Dimplex has also briefed staff on a proposal on investment in and the reorganisation of its all-island operations. This means shutting down their Portadown factory, putting around 200 jobs at risk.

Unite the Union released this statement:

Speaking exclusively to CoolFM/Downtown, Neil Moore from Unite the Union said: “Well, I think this has been an announcement that’s left workers in absolute shock. There was no prior warning of the potential and the threats of 200 jobs being lost from the Portadown area. The case from the workers here is that once 200 jobs go, they’re not coming back. This will have a devastating impact on the local economy and this closure isn’t needed. This is a very, very profitable company, a very profitable site. It’s bonkers to our members that this site has to close when the company is paying a huge dividend and talking about millions of euros of investment in Ireland over the coming years.”

He went on to say: “A workers livelihood should not be put as a threat simply to maximise profit. This announcement has been shocking. People are absolutely dumbstruck.”

In a statement, a Glen Dimplex spokesperson said: “Following a strategic review Glen Dimplex has briefed staff on a proposal on investment in and the reorganisation of its all-island operations. Glen Dimplex employ around 800 people on the island. Under these proposals, overall employment will increase by 200 roles by 2029. In the short to medium term, there will be job losses.

“Subject to the outcome of a staff consultation process, up to 300 net redundancies are expected between late 2024 and 2026. Approximately two thirds of these losses will be in Northern Ireland and one third in Republic of Ireland and similarly, the new roles created will reflect the same spilt. Redundancies are not expected for at least six months. Glen Dimplex will now start a consultation process with staff regarding its proposals.”

Mr Moore responded to this saying: “It’s totally unjustified… you’re talking about jobs being lost for future jobs that be created? That doesn’t add up… You can’t talk about cutting jobs to make jobs. This is simply being done in the interest of profit. It’s going to devastate the local community. It’s going to devastate families. Some families, you have multiple generations working for Glenn Dimplex where their livelihoods are completely under threat. Not one, but potentially two or three household incomes are being taken away, if these proposals go through. So, this will be robustly opposed by unite. There’s no need to be putting people out of their jobs, careers and life.”

Mr Moore said meetings with members will be held in the coming days to discuss the ‘shocking’ announcement.

You can hear more about this story in our hourly bulletins at the top of the hour: https://planetradio.co.uk/cool-fm/

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