Caterpillar must engage fully in redundancy consultation as Unite seeks to mitigate job losses

George Brash, Unite Regional Officer

While Caterpillar global profits exceed $17 billion last year, the business’ corporate management seeks to impose a penny-pinching caps on voluntary redundancy offered to Larne workforce

George Brash, Unite Regional Officer challenged Caterpillar management to engage meaningfully in the ongoing consultation over proposed job-losses at its Larne site.

“Unite has engaged in the 90-day consultation announced by Caterpillar last month with a view to avoiding the need for any compulsory redundancies and of maximising the productive footprint of this company in Northern Ireland. Unfortunately we have to say that we feel that the company’s side is approaching this as a box-ticking exercise simply counting down the days to February 2nd, when the consultation ends.

“Caterpillar’s decision to offshore production from Larne to India is a disgraceful one rooted in the desire to maximise profits and the dividends paid to shareholders. Unfortunately they are intent on pursuing a destructive race-to-the-bottom by offshoring to low cost locations. The human cost to highly skilled workers and the impact on the economy of the Larne area will be immense.

“This is a global company which last year reported $17 billion profits but now to add insult to injury they seek to impose a cap on the voluntary redundancy package they are offering.

“If Caterpillar is genuine about engaging with Unite and the workforce in meaningful consultation then management should immediately move on the easy issues such as lifting the cap and making a decision to retain the G7 product in NI to save skilled jobs. 

“Caterpillar’s Northern Ireland sites will be the only ones retaining free and frictionless trade access to both UK and EU markets after Brexit under the terms of the Northern Ireland protocol. This offers a strong case to reject the threat to ‘review’ G7 production here and immediately guarantee the livelihoods of another 40 workers.

“Unite will fight to avoid compulsory redundancies up to and beyond the minimum ninety-day consultation limit. We are encouraging any workers who are not already a member of our union to join us in that fightback to win a future for highly-skilled manufacturing jobs in Northern Ireland”, Mr Brash concluded.

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