Dawn Meats culls Irish workforce

Dawn Meats has laid off 130 staff in Southern Ireland in a bid to rationalise operations.

The redundancies mean the closure of its deboning facility at the beef slaughtering and processing plant in Midleton, Co Cork, which will be transferred to Charleville and Ballyhaunis in Co Mayo. The plant will continue to operate its slaughtering facility at Midleton.

Around 65 people were employed directly by Dawn Meats, while the remaining 65 were agency staff; redundancy packages have been agreed for the full-time workers at the Labour Court.

SIPTU union national industrial secretary Gerry McCormack said there had been several meetings in recent weeks between officials and management, which had been fruitless. "I'm hopeful the company will implement the Labour Court's recommendations - but I'm not that confident. The court also said these workers should be given first refusal on any vacancies that come up elsewhere in the company."

A spokesman for Dawn said the move was part of a rationalisation of the firm's operations, which would maximise efficiencies and said: "We're open for business as usual." He added: "Nobody likes to do these things, but the redundancy packages have all been worked out and I know that the agency, which represented half the workers, has got work for some of them elsewhere in the industry."

He said the decision to move some operations from Midleton was related to the Irish govern-ment's recent announcement that it would make grant aid available to Irish companies, including Dawn, for capital investment in the beef and sheep processing sector.

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