Workers brace for job cuts at Dell

 

Thousands of workers at computer giant Dell were tonight bracing themselves for devastating jobs cuts.

After a year long global review aimed at cutting costs, it is believed the US multinational is planning to bring manufacturing in Limerick to a virtual standstill.

Speculation has grown that more than 1,500 of the factory floor workers are facing redundancy.

Local politicians and business chiefs at Limerick Chamber of Commerce have warned the knock-on effect to the economy could treble the number of jobs lost in the Mid-West region.

Jan O’Sullivan, Labour Party TD in the city, said: “It would have a devastating effect on the local economy.

“There are a number of other companies, ancillary to Dell, either feeding directly into Dell or otherwise, or in production, packaging, transports and shops.”

The Cabinet tonight discussed the looming cuts but it is understood personal approaches by both the Tanaiste Mary Coughlan and Defence Minister and Limerick TD Willie O’Dea have failed to persuade Dell to maintain numbers at the factory.

It is believed the only hope for manufacturing at the Raheen plant is if a private consortium of investors secures enough funds and bids successfully for an outsourcing contract.

Senior management at Raheen have already been briefed by US bosses ahead of the grim announcement to ordinary workers tomorrow morning.

Conservative estimates have suggested around two thirds of the company’s manufacturing jobs are to be axed with management favouring a plant in Lodz, Poland with a ready supply of cheaper labour.

However, support teams, finance, logistics and senior management should be kept on in Limerick.

It is understood Dell, which is non-union, has also been pushing for a new base in China.

But the impact of the pending losses at Dell will be felt far beyond the doors of Raheen and could threaten between 8,000 and 15,000 jobs indirectly.

Last April the computer giant announced plans to cut more jobs than the 10 per cent of its global workforce — around 8,800 jobs — as the economy curbed.

Since then hundreds of people have been laid off from its sites in Limerick and Cherrywood, Co Dublin. Many more temporary contracts have not been renewed.

Established in Ireland in 1990, Dell employed more than 4,500 staff in Ireland at its height and is the biggest exporter and second largest company here.

It accounts for approximately 5 per cent of Irish GDP and last year contributed €140 million to the south west economy in wages alone.

PA