Sweden’s Svenska Dagbladet newspaper has claimed that telecommunications giant Ericsson, which has a factory in Athlone, is set to lay off thousands of workers from its global operations in order to reduce costs.
The publication claims that the job cuts are set to take place this summer due to slowing markets and after quarterly profit and sales came in below expectations in April.
The paper first published the story on Tuesday, at which time it claimed a senior source inside Ericsson revealed that between 3,000 and 4,000 staff will be laid off this summer, and that thousands more workers may have no choice but to leave the company later. However, on Wednesday morning the same publication revised this figure to a worrying 25,000 with fears that parts of the business might have to be either sold off or closed down.
Ericsson has around 1,400 staff employed between its software campus in Athlone and services campus in Clonskeagh, south Dublin. The high number of highly skilled roles in its Athlone campus makes the company an important employer in the region.
A spokesman for Ericsson said the company would not comment on “rumours and speculation”. However, the company said additional savings are now being sought beyond a cost-cutting programme launched in 2014. That plan was aimed at achieving savings of almost €1bn by next year, a figure the company says it is on target to reach. This year to date, Ericsson’s share price has fallen by 26 per cent, making the company the worst performer in the main European Technology Index.
Speaking on Wednesday morning, Independent Deputy Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran urged the public to be patient and wait to see how the situation developed. While he admitted the news is worrying, he would not be drawn further on the issue until more concrete information emerges.