Blow for Liebherr employees
Up to 800 staff at Liebherr in Killarney, who are on a three-day-week from September 1, have not been told for how long the cost-cutting measure will be in place.
A letter of formal notice was sent to staff last week to inform them that the company was introducing a three-day-week from Monday, September 3.
The move by Killarney’s largest employer is a huge blow to the town and the local economy.
Speculation had been mounting that a three-day-week would be put in place to save jobs at the Killarney factory. This has now been confirmed.
Legally staff have to be given a month’s notice by the company that they intend to introduce a three-day-week and this was done last Thursday, prior to the annual holiday shutdown which began on Monday. The new working week will come into effect on Monday, September 3.
This move affects the majority of the staff, including manufacturing staff and office employees. Some workers have been transferred to other Liebherr plants in Germany and Southampton but this is believed to be a small proportion of the overall work force.
Liebherr management has declined to comment on the situation.
Sources have suggested that the move may be a bid by the company to negotiate new working arrangements with workers. The company’s sick pay scheme has also been suspended.
News of the move has been met with shock across Killarney. Most are hopeful that the move will only be temporary and that staff will once again be re-employed full-time early in 2019.
It is understood that mediation will now take place between the unions and Liebherr management in bid to find a solution to the current crisis.
27 jobs have already been lost at the Killarney factory and it was feared that 180 more jobs were on the line.
Mayor of Killarney, John Sheahan, said the news affects not only workers but also subcontractors and a host of other businesses that rely on Liebherr.
“I have spoken to employees and the hope is that they will get the situation sorted. Everyone is very worried about it.”
Killarney Chamber of Commerce and Tourism said that while the decision is regrettable the move is to ultimately save jobs. “We understand that the current proposed measure is to reduce costs so that long-term employment can be protected.”