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GSK denies timing Apprentice appearance to clash with job cuts

GlaxoSmithKline denies timing jobs cuts with positive promotion of the company on TV3′s The Apprentice.

The Apprentice's Bill Cullen wasn't the only one saying 'You're fired' yesterday - so did GSK
The Apprentice's Bill Cullen wasn't the only one saying 'You're fired' yesterday - so did GSK

A SPOKESPERSON FOR GlaxoSmithKline has told TheJournal.ie that it was “sheer coincidence” that job cuts in a Cork manufacturing branch of the company were announced on the same day that the company featured heavily on the latest episode of TV3′s The Apprentice.

The pharmaceuticals and healthcare giant announced yesterday that it was to lose 121 jobs from its Co Cork operations, with 55 going from the manufacturing plant at Currabinny, Carrigaline. The other 66 jobs will eventually be lost as part of revised shift-working arrangements.

A few hours later, GSK was in the limelight again. This time the company was on the receiving end of good publicity as rival teams on The Apprentice vied to create a winning billboard for one of its consumer products, Lucozade Lite.

Three members of GSK’s marketing team sat in judgement on Team Elev8 and Team Fusion’s billboard ‘concepts’. One of the GSK representatives then appeared on the post-Apprentice show, You’re Fired, where last night’s losing contestant Niamh Humphreys was interviewed having been sent packing from Bill Cullen’s boardroom.

Asked if the job cuts announcement had been timed to go out on the same day as the heavy promotion of a GSK product on ratings-hit The Apprentice, a spokesperson for the company told TheJournal.ie:

“Are you serious? No, absolutely not.”

The spokesperson said that while GlaxoSmithKline was the parent company, it had many divisions within Ireland which had no dealings with each other. She said:

“There is a consumer division in Dublin which would deal with consumer products like Lucozade or Ribena; down in Cork there is the pharmaceutical manufacturing, research and development. There is no crossover between the global manufacturing site in Cork and the consumer division. They operate quite independently of each other.”

She added that the job cuts had been “in the pipeline” for some time. The announcement was not made until 5pm yesterday so that workers would have time to digest the news before anyone else.

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