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Over 200 jobs to be lost as BorgWarner announces closure of Tralee facility

SIPTU trade union has scheduled a meeting with management to discuss the decision.

THE BORGWARNER MANUFACTURING plant in Tralee, Co Kerry is set to close with over 200 jobs lost.

The facility, which produces air heaters, employs 210 people. Employees were today informed it would cease production and close down.

The US company said the main reason for the closure is “declining customer demand” for the air heaters which “no longer supports the need for a standalone manufacturing facility”.

“The proposed closure is part of a series of market-driven adjustments by BorgWarner to adapt its cost structure in order to remain competitive in the current environment,” the company said in a statement. 

“The adjustments under consideration include restructuring, closure, or consolidation of manufacturing and/or technical centres in all major regions.”

SIPTU trade union said its members at the plant have “expressed their shock and concern” at the decision to close.

The union has scheduled a meeting with company management this Thursday to “discuss in detail” the reason for the closure.

SIPTU organiser Joe Kelly said: “We will be seeking to explore if there is a possibility of maintaining any level of production in Tralee.

“If this cannot be achieved, we will do all in our power to ensure the best terms and conditions for our members affected by the closure.”

The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Leo Varadkar, said today’s announcement “will come as a major blow” to the Tralee area. 

“The IDA did everything it could to sustain the firm’s presence here over recent years,” Varadkar said.

“The government and the agency were not, unfortunately, informed in advance that the company was considering closing its facility in Tralee.”

Varadkar said all necessary State assistance will be made available to the affected workers. The Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, is also aware of the situation. 

“I am very conscious of what these job losses mean for Kerry,” the Tánaiste said.

“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. We will be working hard to help Kerry rebound from this and to create new economic opportunities.”

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‘Difficult day’

The managing director of BorgWarner Tralee, Anton Diaz, said today is a “difficult day”. 

“This facility has been part of this community for over 30 years and the leadership team is very grateful to all BorgWarner Tralee employees for their dedication and contribution,” he said. 

The company said it “sincerely regrets” this development.

With redundancies, it says it will “endeavour to provide a financial package and supports to the 210 impacted employees which recognises their service and commitment to BorgWarner Tralee”. 

Sinn Féin TD for Kerry, Pa Daly, said the news is a “massive disappointment”. 

“Focus now must be on the workers involved and their families, with every effort made to support them to ensure they receive a fair redundancy package, as well as retraining for future employment opportunities,” Daly said in a statement. 

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