Workers at major County Kildare multi national concerned about plant takeover

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Paul O'Meara

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Worker at major County Kildare multi national concerned about plant takeover

Proctor & Gamble, Newbridge

Employees at a major multi national employer in County Kildare have expressed concern about the possible implications of a takeover of their workplace.

It’s understood that a trade union meeting will be held tomorrow morning at the facility’s car park.

P & G is a world leader in the manufacture of personal care and hygiene products and it makes toothbrushes and dental floss in Newbridge.

The company has confirmed that an Indian company, Mapaex Health and Personalcare Ireland Private Limited, has told employees that it intends to transfer the Newbridge site - along with a 10-year supply agreement for them to supply the P&G Oral Care and Braun business.

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In a statement the company said the deal is expected to close within the 2021 calendar year, subject to the completion of the required information and consultation with employees.  

It added: “(The) Newbridge manufacturing facility is a state of the art manufacturing facility supporting the Oral Care and Braun businesses. Currently the Newbridge site is underutilised.”

“This transaction will enable Oral Care and Braun to continue to be supplied from Newbridge whilst enabling Mapaex to bring additional manufacturing business into the site for other customers. This will enable Newbridge to continue to thrive. Our focus right now is on our people and organisation and to ensure a smooth transition over the coming months.”

One of the employees said some people feel that they have “been thrown under a bus” and that benefits such as health insurance cover, company shares and vouchers may no longer be paid under a new arrangement. About 240 of the workforce are members of a union and most of those are SIPTU members.

“We believe the new company is much smaller with less than ten operations, mostly in India and 1700 employees. By comparison P & G has 120,000 employees worldwide,” the employee said.

Just over a year ago the company sought 25 redundancies - or “separations”, to use the company’s description, in Newbridge.

At the time the company said this  development was part of its “ongoing supply chain management programme” to deliver better value and service to consumers and retail partners.

P & G did not otherwise elaborate on the reason behind the decision to cut staff; but it’s thought it is a consequence of increased automation at the plant.

The statement added: “We are confident we will manage this and, consistent with our purpose, values and principles, we will remain respectful to our employees and ensure due diligence is given to all relevant employee and labour relations requirements.”

The company reported profits of €25.4m in Ireland in 2017 and it has a second plant in Nenagh, County Tipperary, which was sold on before it closed. The Newbridge plant opened in 1984 and employs up to 400 people.