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Shannon unemployment swells in 2009

Element Six - just of the companies in Shannon, which shed its employees in 1009. Photograph by John KellyIT’S been a bad year for employment in Shannon, with a number of major job losses swelling the Live Register figures.
In July, there was shock after Element Six, a long-time stellar Shannon employer announced plans to axe 370 jobs.
While the number of jobs lost eventually turned out to be significantly lower, it was a major shock to workers.
A protracted dispute over the level of redundancy ensued, with staff very angry that they were being offered less than what was available under previous arrangements. “I’m here 10 years and I was offered nearly €60,000 to leave last year and now I’m looking at €10,000 going out the door,” one employee told The Clare Champion. Following a protracted process, redundancy arrangements that were more palatable to workers were agreed.
CEO Cyrus Jilla said that Ireland was no longer competitive on costs. “While we have made great strides over the years to make the site competitive, it is insufficient to ensure long-term viability. The global economic downturn has simply added to the need for decisive and urgent action. Unfortunately, our situation is similar to many manufacturing operations in Ireland in recent years that have ceased to be cost competitive.”
Earlier in the year, Molex had announced it was seeking 100 redundancies from its 400 staff.
“These are very difficult actions but are critical to help Molex respond to the most difficult business environment the company and the connector industry have ever seen. Employees who are affected by these reductions will be treated with respect and will receive support and assistance,” the company said, in a statement.
In the autumn, Tecnotree and GE Money both announced redundancies with Tecnotree letting 80 people go and GE Money releasing 50 workers.
Both companies said that they had been hit hard by the economic meltdown of the past two years.
Agilysis Contact Services transferred operations from their Smithstown centre to the UK. “This decision has been driven by the current economic conditions, with the strength of the euro against the pound meaning that overhead costs in Shannon are proving to be uneconomic,” the company stated.
Towards the end of the year, Sykes announced that it was shedding jobs, transferring positions to other low-cost economies.
Schwarz Pharma is set to make people 29 redundant in the coming months as part of a restructuring programme.
Shannon Airport also saw job losses, with Sky Handling Partners shedding 26 employees and Servisair making 20 redundant. Aer Lingus are set to make 102 cabin crew redundant in the new year.

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