Up to 125 jobs are set to go at the Carrickfergus site of tyre pressure sensor manufacturer Sensata Technologies in what has been descibed as another bitter blow to the east Antrim area
The company which also operates a site in Antrim, said it will begin collective consultation with the workforce in Carrick during which proposed alternatives to compulsory redundancy will be considered.
Responding on behalf of Unite the union, which represents a significant number of those whose jobs are under threat, Regional Officer Joanne McWilliams said:
“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.
“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 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.
Sensata Technologies is a global organisation which makes sensors, switches and controls for multiple industries. It has had a significant manufacturing and R&D presence in Northern Ireland since its 2014 acquisition of Schrader Electronics, which was founded in 1988.
It employs 1301 staff across both sites which manufacture a range of tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS). Employees in Antrim will not be impacted by the announcement.
Graeme Thompson, UK general manager from Sensata Technologies, said: “Following a review of our operations and in response to a drop in expected demand for some of the products currently manufactured in Northern Ireland, the company regrets to announce that we will potentially be reducing the workforce at our site in Carrickfergus by 125 people.
“This has been a very difficult decision and all possible alternatives were explored before it was taken.
“Our focus now is on providing support to the affected employees and their families. To that end we have engaged globally recognised but locally based outsourcing consultants LHH Penna to provide career transition advice and assistance for all affected employees.”
Expressing the company’s commitment to maintaining its manufacturing base in the province Mr Thompson added: “Expected production levels for other lines remain steady at this time and Sensata Technologies remains committed to our Northern Ireland operation.”
Alliance East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson said the news was “deeply disappointing”.
“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.
The MLA added: “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.”