ENTERPRISE and Employment Minister, Leo Varadkar, has described as “unfortunate” the fact that the government was not informed in advance of BorgWarner’s plans to close down its Tralee factory.
Staff were shocked at a lunchtime meeting yesterday to learn that the auto parts plant is to cease trading with the loss of 210 jobs.
But Mr Varadkar insisted that his department was not briefed that BorgWarner was considering closing its facility in Tralee, despite the fact that the IDA did everything it could to sustain the firm’s presence in Kerry over recent years.
“This is a devastating day for the employees of BorgWarner and their families. The company has been a significant source of employment in Tralee for three decades and this announcement will come as a major blow to the area,” Minister Varadkar said.
He said he held a conference call with representatives of the company and the IDA yesterday evening to express his concern at the decision.
“The company informed us that demand for their product was in decline and this was not related to Covid-19,” the minister said.
“They agreed to offer an enhanced redundancy package to staff and would speak to their employees and their representatives about this”.
BorgWarner’s parent company actually owns the building in the Monavalley Industrial Estate and it agreed to work with the IDA to find an alternative investor for the plant.
Minister Varadkar said the government will make all necessary State assistance available to the workers to find new employment, education and training opportunities.
“I am very conscious of what these job losses mean for Kerry. The county has had a very difficult number of months, given the importance of tourism and the impact that Covid-19 has had on that industry in particular,” Mr Varadkar said.
“We will be working hard to help Kerry rebound from this and to create new economic opportunities. The July Jobs Stimulus will be an important part of that response,” he added.
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