Schering-Plough to close Bray plant, 240 jobs to go


Pharmaceutical company Schering-Plough is to close one of its Co Wicklow operations by 2011, with the loss of 240 jobs.

Workers at the plant in Bray were told today of the company's plans to cease operations over the next two years. Consultations will begin immediately, but the firm said it does not expect redundancies in the next 12 months.

General manager of Schering-Plough Bray Pat Kerr said the company regretted the impact the decision would have on workers and their families.

"We will do everything we can to support people with career advice and personal counselling. The planned closure date is by mid-2011 and we do not anticipate redundancies in the coming 12 months or so," he said.

“This is a site with a skilled, dedicated and professional workforce with a strong history of compliance performance.

"The decision announced today is a direct result of global over-capacity and is no reflection on the employees here in Bray.”

The move is part of Schering-Plough’s global efficiency and cost-reduction programme, which began in April last year and includes the integration of Organon BioSciences (OBS), acquired in 2007.

The firm, which has other plants in Rathdrum, Co Wicklow and in Cork and Dublin employing more than 1,000 people, said it remained committed to Ireland.

The Bray operation manufactures veterinary products for Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health.

Under the company's cost reduction plan, which is expected to yield savings of $1.25 billion by the end of 2010 and $1.5 billion by 2012, a number of plants throughout the world will close.

Siptu, which represents more than a third of workers at the plant, called for workers to be retrained before the plant's closure.

“The announcement that the plant will be closing by 2011 has come as no great surprise”, said branch organiser Kieron Connolly said.

“It is disappointing that they intend pressing ahead despite our success in meeting targets at the plant in recent years.

“This is a high quality workforce which needs to be brought back into the active employment as soon as possible. Wicklow has suffered a 100 per cent increase in unemployment in the past year.”

Local Gael TDs Billy Timmins and Andrew Doyle described the job losses as "a crushing blow".

“Given that years of technical experience has been built up we will be seeking to meet with management within the company to investigate finding alternative employment for those who are to be made redundant from within company structures,” said Mr Timmins.

Mr Doyle said the closure would have "terrible knock-on effects" in the region.