Seagate sheds 70 jobs to meet ‘new demand levels’

The Seagate plant in Londonderry
The Seagate plant in Londonderry
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Tech giant Seagate is to lay off 70 workers in Northern Ireland.

The US company, which makes hard drives and develops other top-of-the-range products, said it is being forced to cut the workforce at its Springtown facility on the outskirts of Derry city.

“It is not easy to make decisions that affect people’s lives in this way, but we believe this is the best way forward for the company right now,” the firm said in a statement.

The redundancies will be both voluntary and compulsory, the company said, and will reduce the 1,400 strong workforce by about 5%.

The firm said: “As indicated in recent public statements related to our latest earnings announcement, Seagate is undertaking a number of actions to better position the company for success and growth and to respond to new demand levels within the industry.

“These new levels are a result of a very dynamic and disrupted storage industry, driven by accelerating usage shifts of technologies and architectures by end users, and underpinned by a weak macro-economic environment.

“Unfortunately the required actions include some reduction in the company’s workforce.”

Since opening in 1993, Seagate has been one of the biggest employers in Derry and the news was greeted with frustration by Manufacturing NI chief executive Stephen Kelly.

He said the latest losses within the sector “brings into sharp focus the need for a manufacturing strategy, for a target on energy prices and for the conditions to be created to allow manufacturers to grow”.

“Despite this news, we are very confident of the long term commitment by Seagate to their Springtown site.

“Of course, if their energy, water and other costs were competitive, there could have been a chance to save at least some of these posts.

Seagate are one of NIs largest energy users and suffer the second most expensive prices in the EU,” he said.

They were also facing a huge rise in wage bills with the Apprenticeship Levy tax with little understanding how they could access funds in the future he added.

“Large manufacturers represent less than 1% of manufacturing businesses but account for half of all the job and turnover.

“Their impact on the wider supply chain is also critical,” he said.