Significant job losses at a company demonstrating growth in recent years is a worrying development for the East Antrim economy, according to Unite.
Employees at Sensata Technologies were informed by management this morning there will be 125 jobs going at the company’s production site in Carrickfergus.
Responding on behalf of the union which represents a significant number of those people whose jobs are under threat, Unite regional officer Joanne McWilliams said: “As a result of this devastating redundancy notice, this morning once again hundreds of workers and their families face uncertainty over their livelihoods. This is the latest cruel job loss announcement for our manufacturing sector and the latest major blow to the East Antrim area.
“Sensata Technologies, formerly Schrader International, was one of the employers in the area which had demonstrated significant growth in recent years against a trend of significant job losses and closures, so this is particularly bad news for the local economy.
“Management have told the workforce that the proposed 125 job losses are a result of a delay in anticipated demand for Sensata’s new tyre pressure monitoring system.”
The union added it may be hoped that these job-losses could be reversed when sales of this cutting-edge product pick up again in the future.
“These job-losses once again call into question the absence of a manufacturing strategy for Northern Ireland, the laggard nature of government support and intervention in the economy and the absence of a functioning locally-accountable Executive to respond adequately to what amounts to a jobs crisis in the manufacturing sector, in particular that in the Antrim area.
“Unite will be proactive in seeking to defend the interests of our members in this situation. We don’t accept management’s explanation for these redundancies and we will want to see much more justification for what amounts to a huge reduction in the workforce. Our union has considerable resources which we will bring to bear to secure the best possible outcome for our members,” Ms McWilliams said.
Meanwhile, East Antrim Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson said he is seeking an urgent meeting with management of the company which acquired Schrader Electronics in 2014.
“My foremost thoughts are with the staff at the Carrickfergus site affected by this news. This is deeply disappointing and will cause distress locally,” he said.
“It is vital options are outlined to the workforce giving alternatives to compulsory redundancy. Anyone made redundant should be given support and guidance to assist them with next steps, and help them find other suitable employment. I am seeking an urgent meeting with company management to help ensure that is the case.
“This has been a tough few weeks for the wider East and South Antrim area, with disappointing news relating to job losses at Kilroot Power Station, Williams Industrial Services and Schlumberger.
“While Sensata’s commitment to maintaining its manufacturing base in Northern Ireland is welcome, we need to see a functioning Executive so plans can be put in place to address these job losses as a matter of urgency.” Echoing these sentiments, UUP MLA John Stewart said: “Schrader (Sensata Technologies) is one of the biggest employers in Carrickfergus with a highly skilled and committed workforce. This planned workforce reduction will come as a huge shock to the workers and their families and will have a significant impact on the local economy.
“The official reason given for the planned cut in jobs is a drop in demand for their tyre pressure monitoring systems in the European market, but it is not clear yet if these jobs are going elsewhere, given that Sensata is a firm with a global presence.
“What is completely clear is that Mid and East Antrim is continuing to be hit by a manufacturing crisis, and the reluctance of the last DUP/Sinn Fein government at Stormont to even accept the need for a manufacturing strategy is now compounded by the inability of those two parties to form an Executive at Stormont to implement one.
“Global Companies will make decisions on investment and jobs based on market forces, but the current political instability cannot be helping to create the settled conditions for our economy to grow. 409 days without a local government or a Minister for the Economy is an absolute disgrace.”