Dundalk company lays off workers


One of Drogheda's largest employer's has announced a three month production stoppage, starting in April. Premier Periclase which manufactures sea-water magnesia for the steel industry blamed the stoppage on "extremely difficult" market conditions.

The company is part of the CRH group and employs 200 people. One hundred per cent of its sales are exported to Europe, America and the Far East. It began production in Drogheda in 1980 and estimates it contributes up to £7 million annually to the local economy and £3 million to the national economy.

The stoppage will result in 160 staff who are directly employed by the company being laid off until from the April 1st until the August 1st. A company spokesperson said they would be paid for any holidays owed to them, but would then have to sign on.

During the stoppage the company will supply its customers with magnesia from existing stocks and says that by August it will need all its workers back at the plant to resume full production again.

In a statement announcing the stoppage, the company said the decline of the Asian, Russian and Brazilian economy has led to a shift in the global steel trade with high levels of steel being imported into Europe and the United States. This has affected steel production and refractory consumption resulting in reduced demand for the company's products. During the production stoppage, the company will supply products from existing stocks to its customers."

Human resources' manager, Mr Bill Trodden, said the production stoppage will not affect its planned £2 million investment which forms part of an application before the Environmental Protection Agency.