Kerry Foods SIPTU members plan for strike action

31 redundancies are planned for the plant which is being hit hard by Brexit

Barry Landy

Reporter:

Barry Landy

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barry.landy@dundalkdemocrat.ie

Kerry Foods SIPTU members plan for strike action

Kerry Group in Carrickmacross want to streamline their operation at the County Monaghan plant

SIPTU members at the Kerry Foods plant in Carrickmacross, where potential large scale job losses are on the cards, are to strike this month - starting this coming Tuesday (March 6th).

Workers have notified the company that they will conduct three 24-hour work stoppages at the plant in response to a threat to make 31 workers redundant. If no resolution is found before then, the strike action will commence.

"On Friday, 23rd February, our members voted overwhelmingly in support of industrial action," SIPTU organiser Jim McVeigh said. "Management has been notified that our members will conduct three 24-hour work stoppages, on Tuesday 6th, Tuesday 13th and Tuesday 20th March at the Carrickmacross plant.

"The company knows that in order to avoid our members taking this industrial action an agreement to implement a voluntary redundancy scheme is required. This must include an adequate redundancy package for those members of the workforce who wish to leave.”

"SIPTU representatives are planning to meet with the company later this week to discuss a fair resolution to this dispute," he added.

Kerry Foods has said that it can only offer voluntary redundancy in some cases - not all. It is looking to streamline it's operations. 

The factory, based in the IDA Industrial estate in the town, makes frozen prepared meals for export to the UK. It is understood the implications of Brexit is playing a role in the company's decision.

In a statement made when the decision to make 31 staff redundant was first announced in January, they said no other plants are under threat and that Carrickmacross is “uniquely vulnerable."

The company claims the cuts are necessary to ensure the future of the other 385 jobs in the plant. According to SIPTU, there are over 300 SIPTU members working in the plant.

Speaking about the proposed redundancies last week, Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy said, "Kerry Foods has been a stable employer of local people in Carrickmacross for many years and a vital component of the local economy. 

"Therefore I have written to Kerry Group urging that all avenues are exhausted before they proceed with lay-offs which will, of course, have a severely negative impact on the workers affected, their families and the local community.

"As an MEP for Midlands North West and a previous Carrickmacross based Councillor, I know too well of the devastation that high numbers of redundancies can have.  There will naturally be concerns that other redundancies may follow."