Unions and TDs rally in an effort to save jobs at Lund manufacturing plant

Employees have been left in shock regarding the announcement last Thursday that Lund manufacturing company in Athlone is to close later this year with the loss of 40 jobs.

The company, which has been operating out of Athlone for more than 35 years but only acquired the plant in 2012, is owned by Fisher Barton, the US multinational which has its headquarters in the US and specialises in the manufacture of superior components for agricultural equipment.

Speaking about the factory’s closure, Bill Sanders, president of Fisher Barton Specialty Products, said: “Regrettably, the decision has been taken to close the Athlone facility in the coming months.

“This is obviously very difficult news for our committed team of skilled people, many of whom have been with the company for several years. The decision to cease production in no way reflects on the performance of the site or the calibre of the team in Athlone. Rather, it arises from a significant reduction in demand for products manufactured at the site.”

Representatives from SIPTU, the union with which the majority of Lund employees are associated, met with the management of Lund Precision Products on Friday, April 8, to discuss options for saving as many jobs as possible at the tool manufacturer’s plant in Athlone.

Speaking the following day, SIPTU organiser Denis Sheridan said the announcement has left staff in a state of shock: “The plant has operated for over 35 years and its closure would be a major blow to the local area,” he said. “The company has stated that a downturn in international demand is responsible for its decision to close the plant.”

Mr Sheridan said SIPTU representatives will meet with management again next week to further explore whatever avenues may be open to saving the plant and the workers’ jobs.

Independent TDs Kevin “Boxer” Moran and Denis Naughten have both made representations to Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton; speaking this week, TD for Roscommon-Galway, Denis Naughten, said he is also in contact with the IDA in an effort to see if anything can be done to save some of the jobs set to be lost. The Minister has committed to keeping him informed as the situation develops.

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