Job losses loom at Antrim Kingspan factory

Workers accuse firm of prioritising profits over livelihoods with talk of 23 redundancies

Kingspan chief executive Gene Murtagh: Company is exploring the possibility of transferring workers to other facilities. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Kingspan chief executive Gene Murtagh: Company is exploring the possibility of transferring workers to other facilities. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

More than 20 workers facing the potential loss of their jobs at Kingspan’s Springvale factory in Ballyclare, Co Antrim, accused the company of prioritising profits over their livelihoods.

Following a review of operations prompted by declining sales, insulation maker Kingspan is consolidating expanded polystyrene production into its factory at Askeaton, Co Limerick, with the possible loss of 23 jobs in Ballyclare.

The company has been consulting with workers at Springvale and with Unite, the trade union that represents them, on its plans. It says it is exploring the possibility of transferring workers to other facilities.

Making money

Kevin McAdam, Unite regional officer, argued the desire to maximise profits over the livelihoods of workers, who had helped build Kingspan’s success, drove the decision to close Springvale.

He said the fact that the company was considering closing the factory even while it was making money baffled Unite members.

“Is it a case of naked corporate greed and that bosses feel they can make more elsewhere and to ‘hell with the workers’ or is this the latest example of economic fallout from damaging the new trade barriers post-Brexit?” Mr McAdam asked.

Middle of pandemic

Either way, he added, the company was laying off workers in the middle of a pandemic.

He noted that Kingspan’s decision came as it announced it would spend €253 million buying an insulation company in Denmark.

In a statement, Kingspan acknowledged that the proposed closure of Ballyclare put 23 workers at risk of redundancy following the consultations.

“Kingspan will work with staff to explore the option to transfer to roles at other Kingspan facilities where suitable,” the company said.