Wilson hits out over latest major blow to east Antrim industrial workforce

The Sensata Technologies Schradar factory in Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim
The Sensata Technologies Schradar factory in Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim

Workers at a factory in Carrickfergus face a “bleak” start to the year after being told on Friday 125 jobs are set to go.

The plant, at Meadowbank Road, is operated by Sensata Technologies, a global organisation which makes sensors, switches and controls for multiple industries.

In a statement it said it will engage in a collective consultation period with employees, during which proposed alternatives to compulsory redundancy will be considered.

Sensata has a significant presence in Northern Ireland, with 1,300 employees spread across the site in Carrickfergus and another in Antrim.

One worker told the BBC how he found out the bad news yesterday morning: “They just said, you know, everyone will be getting a letter stating whether your job in particular is at risk or not.”

He added: “That was basically all we were told. I suppose it was coming.”

Yesterday’s announcement applies only to workers at the Carrickfergus site.

“Coming in the wake of last month’s announcement of the possible closure of Kilroot power station today’s news marks a bleak start to the new year for east Antrim,” DUP MP Sammy Wilson said.

Mr Wilson also said the firm had told him “details of an enhanced redundancy package” would be made available in “the coming days.”

Graeme Thompson, UK general manager from Sensata, said: “The company regrets to announce that we will potentially be reducing the workforce at our site in Carrickfergus by 125 people.”

The news follows a series of job loss announcements in Co Antrim in recent times.

Caterpillar is in the process of winding down its plant in Monkstown, announced in 2016 as part of a drive to shed roughly 200 jobs Province-wide, while this month the trade union NIPSA said Schlumberger is closing its plant in Newtownabbey, with the loss of 220 jobs.

It was also revealed this month manufacturing firm Williams Industrial Services in Mallusk, Newtownabbey, has gone into administration, with the loss of 145 jobs.

This is in addition to planned of Kilroot power plant outside Carrickfergus and planned job losses at and Ballylumford power station in Larne, threatening 150 employees across the sites combined.