Coca-Cola closes Athy plant, with 82 job losses

Activities at the Kildare plant are being transferred to Ballina, Co Mayo

Coca-Cola employs about 1,600 people in Ireland. Photograph: Getty Images

Coca-Cola employs about 1,600 people in Ireland. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Coca-Cola is closing its plant in Athy, Co Kildare, resulting in the loss of all 82 jobs, the company confirmed on Wednesday.

Following a review of concentrate manufacturing, the company is planning to transfer production from its Athy plant to its higher capacity facility at Ballina Beverages in Co Mayo.

It is understood that 43 of the jobs will be transferred to the Ballina plant and employees in Athy will have the option to transfer.

In a statement, Coca-Cola said it would “commence a period of consultation with employee representatives at Athy International Concentrates”.

“Existing and future demand for concentrate and beverage base supply from Ireland to its global customers can be met by the Ballina plant,” the company said.

“It is with regret that we are announcing the proposed closure of the Coca-Cola plant in Athy. The site has been in operation for 45 years, with Coca-Cola acquiring the plant in 2000,” the plant’s general manager, Manqoba Khumalo, said.

Mr Khumalo added that Coca-Cola would provide job search and re-training supports for the employees affected by the Athy closure, in addition to a redundancy package.

The company had been reorganising as recently as last year. In March 2017 it said that up to 10 employees would be made redundant. That announcement came as Coca-Cola sought about 50 redundancies across other plants, including the Ballina plant where 43 jobs will now be available.

Sugar tax

Like all drinks manufacturers, Coca-Cola will be the subject of Republic’s new sugar tax, which came into force on Tuesday. Drinks with 5-8g of sugar per 100ml are subject to a tax of 20 cent per litre. Above 8g, a levy of 30 cent a litre applies.

A division of lobby group Ibec said earlier this week that 76 per cent of soft drinks sold in Ireland would not be liable for the tax.

Together with its bottling partner, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling company, the company employs about 1,600 people in Ireland with another manufacturing facility in Lisburn.

Coca-Cola has a 32 per cent share of the €850 million market. It also owns brands including Fanta, Sprite, Schweppes and the still fruit drink brand Oasis.