19/05/2010

Gov Pressed To Act On Pfizer Jobs

Unions and opposition parties are calling on the Government to ensure as many jobs as possible at Pfizer are saved.

The pharmaceutical multi-national announced yesterday that over 750 jobs are under threat with 275 jobs already in line to be cut at its Newbridge facility in Co Kildare.

Another 510 jobs are under threat at the company's facility in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin and two sites in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork.

This morning, pressure has been building on the Government to take action with branch organiser Michelle Quinn from one of the State's largest unions SIPTU asking the Government to intervene.

Ms Quinn also said its officials will be seeking an urgent meeting with the Company in order to seek clarifications on aspects of the Company announcement.

"Our main priority is to protect our members' interests in whatever way possible. THE announcement has come as a devastating blow to Pfizer employees in Dublin, Kildare and Cork," Ms Quinn said.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party's Alan Kelly MEP said he would be addressing the issue at European level.

Mr Kelly said: "The government can do two things at a European level. Currently, little or no state aid can be granted to a large enterprise that may replace Pfizer in a place like Cork because of EU rules regarding the regional aid guidelines.

"This is effectively tying the hands of the region behind its back when it comes to attracting investment.

"I will be asking the Commission during question time this evening to radically review its rules on regional aid and highlighting the Pfizer case as an example of why it is no longer of benefit," he said.

Yesterday, Enterprise Minister Batt O'Keeffe said he had called in the State's enterprise agencies to plan for retraining and re-employment for the workers affected.

(DW/BMcC)

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