[Sinn Fein]

11th April 2002

Nestle must tell workers where they stand

South Dublin County Councillor Seán Crowe has again expressed concern for the job security of 132 employees at the Nestle Ireland factory in Tallaght. The parent company has decided to sell off some of its best known brands as a going concern, including Scots Clan, Yorkshire Toffee, Fruitfield, Chef Sauce, leading to increasing anxiety among the workforce that their jobs may be under threat.

The Sinn Fein representative visited the plant last week at the invitation of shop stewards. He had previously met with management to discuss the workers' concerns.

``I was glad of the opportunity to visit the factory and talk to the workers,'' said Crowe. ``I was disappointed that other public representatives, all of whom were invited, did not take up the opportunity to meet with workers and see the operation of the plant.

``Workers have every reason to be worried, as according to business reports, it is unlikely that any single company will be interested in these brands, so redundancy is a possibility. Nestle must give assurances as to job security.

``The workers have a number of concerns based on their previous experience of disputes within the company. They are anxious, for example, that their pension scheme be protected in the event of a sale, and that agreement be reached regarding a capital fund to guarantee any redundancy deal for employees prior to any sale. The workers are concerned that the sale of the brands may not mean that their jobs are safe and are at pains to stress the viability and profitability of the Tallaght plant.

``Nestle made profits of ¤1.25 billion in the first half of last year so they can easily afford to meet their responsibilities to what has been a loyal workforce in Ireland. The first step is to be frank about job security. People have mortgages and other family and financial responsibilities to meet. They deserve to know what is happening so they can plan for their future.''

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