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Cartamundi plant on Cork Road in Waterford. Cartamundi

234 jobs affected as toymaker to close Waterford factory

Cartamundi said a “post-Covid decline” in demand for board games, coupled with inflation and overcapacity, has brought about the closure.

A TOYMAKER EMPLOYING 234 people in Waterford is to cease operations.

Cartamundi said a “post-Covid decline in demand for board games”, coupled with inflation and overcapacity, has brought about the closure.

The Waterford plant has been manufacturing board games and other items since 1977, when it was formerly known as Hasbro.

Local politicians have called for the government to do all it can to support the 234 workers affected by this afternoon’s news.

In a statement to the press, Cartamundi said it will now begin consultations with employees, their representatives and state agencies.

It anticipates that the closure will be phased over a number of months until finally shutting in August.

The factory had been “suffering losses for many months” which was “not sustainable” for its future, according to president of the company’s solutions division David Germis.

“Sales during Covid and through 2021 were strong and peaked mid-2022.

The situation has been aggravated by the increase in raw material and energy costs, which has impacted manufacturers globally,” the company said.

Managing director Barry Morrissey said it was a “very sad day” for Cartamundi Ireland.

“We are very proud of the quality of the work and the legacy of the plant and its people in Waterford and appreciate the efforts of everyone at the plant.”

The Cartamundi Group, which is headquartered in Belgium and took over the Waterford plant in 2015, is the world’s largest playing cards and board game manufacturer.

It has a global network of 13 manufacturing facilities around the world and employs over 2,500 people worldwide.

The news was delivered to employees at the plant on the city’s Cork Road today by Germis and Morrissey.

“It is particularly regrettable that we plan to close our Waterford facility. It has been a source of reliable quality production and we wish to thank the management and employees for their dedication and continued application in ensuring the continuous supply of products to our customers, particularly in the recent difficult times,” Germis said.

“The factory in Waterford has been suffering losses for many months now and this is not sustainable.”

Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane and Fine Gael senator John Cummins said the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney must engage with Cartamundi and workers’ representatives following the news.

If there is no prospect to save the jobs, Coveney must ensure the company engages with workers and their representatives so the “best possible redundancy deal” can be achieved, Cullinane said.

Cullinane added that it was a “huge blow” to the factory workers.

“This is a sad day for Waterford after nearly 50 years of employment at the factory.“

As it is the company’s intention to entirely shut down its operations this amounts to a collective redundancy, which requires a 30-day consultation period,” he said.

Cummins said he also contacted Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys to ask that “every resource of the state agencies” be deployed to assist workers at the plant.

He said the agencies from the Department of Enterprise and the Department of Social protection must also ensure staff who had received the “terrible news” can be helped to find alternative work and ensure Cartmundi Ireland “lives up to its legal obligations” amid its closure.

“It is very disappointing that the company has chosen this course of action and my thoughts are with all the workers and their families at what must be an exceptionally difficult time,” Cummins said.

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