***The year in review***
INDUSTRIAL employment at Shannon remained relatively stable in 2012, while the creation of a new entity to manage the industrial estate and the creation of new incentives for companies to come to the region has given hope for the future.
Also, it’s hoped that the Government move to put Enterprise Ireland and the IDA in charge of enterprise development in the Free Zone will lead to job creation.
While there weren’t huge job losses, there were some companies who reduced their workforces.
Towards the end of January, it emerged that local IT company Avocent was making 13 of its workers redundant.
In a statement at the time, the IT company said it was consolidating its operations. “Avocent International Ltd has informed employees at its Shannon facility of plans for a collective redundancy in its operations and sales departments.
“This difficult decision is no reflection on the quality of the employees affected by this reduction, who have served the company well.
“This change in operations is designed to enhance competitiveness, reduce cost structures and improve efficiency in a very competitive market. The Shannon facility will remain the centre of support for EMEA business going forward. This action will become effective immediately, pending notice periods.
“A total of 13 employees are affected by this action. The facility currently employs 105 staff.”
The work that had been carried out there was moved to other locations, much of it going to a plant in Alabama.
Genworth Financial announced that it would be shedding 29 positions from its Shannon operation in February. The company provides insurance products to a number of countries and it said it suffered due to the weak economy in Ireland and Britain.
Spokesman Guy Genney said at the time that while it was performing well in some of its markets, there was a need to reduce costs.
“It’s a mixed picture because the service centre in Shannon supports our offices across all of Europe. Some countries have bounced back and are growing nicely. In other areas, like Ireland and the UK, it’s very flat and a lot of our business in the UK and Ireland isn’t growing at all.
“Unfortunately, we have to make a slight adjustment so that we keep competitive and our costs are in line. It’s very unfortunate because we are still investing in Shannon and will probably have more roles to add later in the year but we have to make an adjustment now.”
In the summer, St Andrew’s group announced that 34 people would lose their jobs by the end of 2012. Those losing out worked in payment protection insurance.
The company said 600 jobs were going throughout its global operations. In a statement, the company said, “As part of the reductions previously announced at the group’s strategic review in June 2011, Lloyds Banking Group is announcing 600 role reductions. The roles will come from within the group operations, group executive functions, wealth and international, wholesale, risk and insurance divisions.
“Lloyds Banking Group is committed to working through these changes with employees in a careful and sensitive way. The group’s policy is always to use natural turnover and to redeploy people wherever possible to retain their expertise and knowledge within the group.
“Where it is necessary for employees to leave the company, it will look to achieve this by offering voluntary redundancy. Compulsory redundancies will always be a last resort. Over the past three years, less than 50% of the role reductions have led to people leaving the group through redundancy.”
At the time of writing, there is still a threat to 70 jobs at the local Aer Lingus maintenance base.
A cost-saving proposal made by workers is to be reviewed before a final decision is made on moving the jobs to Dublin.