Unite slams ‘unnecessary and unjustified’ Seagate redundancies

Redundancy announcement comes just weeks after US special envoy highlighted plant’s vital role

May 18th: Unite today (Thursday) said that the decision by Seagate to seek over 100 voluntary redundancies at their Springtown site is ‘unnecessary and unjustified’, and urged workers to join the union in order to secure recognition and a collective voice going forward.

Seagate management this afternoon informed workers that it was seeking redundancies from a workforce of 1,600 as part of a retrenchment package which has also included wage cuts. The Springtown site is one of the world’s leading wafer fabrication manufacturers and makes the critical recording head component which goes into one in every four hard disk drives in the world.

Unite today described the company’s attempt to justify the job and wage cuts as ‘blatantly dishonest’, pointing out that the current drop in sales is from a post-pandemic surge and comes amidst an unprecedented logistical supply crisis.  Seagate’s CEO has himself noted that the drop in sales reflects a ‘prolonged inventory correction’ by customers, and the company is expecting a bounce-back in sales in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham challenged the company’s attempt to justify its attack on jobs and wages, saying:

“There’s no real justification for redundancies or attacks on workers’ pay.  It seems that while workers must pay the price of short-term production problems there are no issues with paying out large dividends to shareholders. Yet again workers are being asked to pay the price. 

“The best way to defend themselves against threats to jobs and pay is for workers who are not already members to join a union and support our application for collective negotiation rights and recognition at the site.”

Unite Regional Officer Brenda Stevenson highlighted Seagate’s importance to the northwest economy, and contrasted the company’s decision with recent comments by the US special envoy to Northern Ireland, Joe Kennedy:

“This afternoon’s announcement by Seagate that they will seek over 100 redundancies is in stark contrast with Joe Kennedy’s recent statement, when he singled out Seagate as exemplifying US commitment to the Northern Ireland economy.  Job losses of this nature are simply unacceptable”, Ms Stevenson concluded.

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