Workers at a Shannon firm, that threatened closure in 2009, fear losing their jobs before Christmas however they claim the company is telling them nothing.
It’s understood that at least 30 agency positions have been cut in recent weeks while there’s speculation that a further 25 jobs will be lost before Christmas.
Element Six (E6), formerly DeBeers but still a member of the De Beers Group of Companies, has not commented on the losses which are believed to be as a result in a downturn in the oil drilling industry which has seen almost 200,000 jobs lost globally so far this year.
E6, based in the Shannon Free Zone, develops and produces synthetic diamond supermaterials used in several industries including both oil and gas drilling.
It’s understood that almost half of the job losses in the oil industry worldwide over the past year have been in the the oil-field service industry and in firms that provide oil and gas producers with drill bits.
“This is what they are telling us anyway,” one worker said. “We known there have been job losses all over the world and that this affects our business but we want to know exactly how it will affect us. How many jobs here in Element Six will be lost,” he added.
According to sources, as many of 32 workers were let go over several weeks in the past two months while further job cuts are feared.
“No one is telling us anything. There were workers told on a Thursday that they were finished and didn’t have to come in on the Friday. They were basically given a months notice and pay but let go straight away. Others were given an hour to get up and get out,” another worker has claimed.
“There was a chunk of 26 let go one Friday, three let off another day and two a few days later. They’re drip feeding the cuts hoping they won’t be noticed. Everyone is afraid that they’ll be next and with the time of year that’s in it, it would be devastating for a lot of people,” a source said.
Many workers remain in dispute with the company over issues dating back to 2009 when unions and management were engaged in a bitter battle over plans to restructure the company.
Management wanted to let 207 workers go but had threatened to sack 370 of the 450 strong workforce if agreement could not be reached. The plan was finally accepted, after the deadline for agreement, and in the end 163 of the 370 manufacturing jobs were saved.
Just last December the company confirmed a major expansion at it’s Shannon facility promising 40 new jobs.
The plan involved a €25m capital investment and a relocation of an additional €20m of assets over two years at the Shannon site.
As the company has not commented on the recent job losses, it’s not known how this capital investment programme will be affected or whether further jobs are under threat.