Despite the forewarning last month that telecom giant Ericsson was to seek 100 redundancies at its Blyry plant, it is understood that just over half of these have been voluntary, and the remaining 45 given mandatory notice this week.
A UK spokesperson for the company said that this was “an out-of-the-air figure”, and refused to confirm what the Advertiser has learned locally.
However, the multinational could not be accused of any Scrooge-like qualities, as it is believed to be offering six weeks pay on top of the statutory minimum redundancy payment.
In early November the firm announced it was looking to cut up to 100 staff from it research and development facility by February, but when only 55 applied for the voluntary package, the company began its mandatory selection procedure.
“There was the possibility of redeployment if there wasn’t enough voluntary, but that period of waiting has come to an end. There will be some mandatory redundancies,” said their spokesperson.
She admitted that the redeployment opportunities were “limited”, and would have to have been overseas where Ericsson employs over 100,000 in 180 countries.
Most of the affected staff have been working on what the company describes as “legacy” products, or older technology which it says no longer requires the same levels of investment.
There will also be some non-software development jobs cut, in the management, administration, and support areas.
The company spokesperson said she couldn’t say exactly what the workforce would be by February as “there is a constant flow of new research and development personnel” but said it would be around 700.
“The future strategy remains unchanged and the R&D operations in Athlone remain an integral part of the overall Ericsson portfolio,” said a spokesperson.
“It is especially difficult for families in the run-up to Christmas. All job losses have an impact on a town the size of Athlone and especially so when those jobs are at the higher end of the scale. Those working in Ericsson are highly skilled, talented, and well-educated people and would be an asset to any company looking for people with software development skills,” said Siobhan Bigley of the Athlone Chamber of Commerce.