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Monday, 3rd July 2023

Shock as Becton Dickinson seeks 60 redundancies in Drogheda

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On Friday evening last rumours started circulating that the Global medical technology company Becton Dickinson (BD) was seeking 60 redundancies at its plant at Donore Road Drogheda. Today those rumours were confirmed causing widespread shock.

The fact that any jobs were at risk at the plant came as a total bombshell considering that, in December 2021, the company announced that it was to spend €62m on a major expansion at the Drogheda factory and create 100 new jobs.

At that time the company said the Drogheda teams’ quality of work had contributed to attracting the global funding for the Drogheda factory which was first established in 1964 and has been an important employer locally ever since. It currently employs approximately 235 people.

In a statement BD said: “Over the last several years during the COVID pandemic, the world experienced extreme shifts in demand for certain products. This affected BD in two ways – extremely high demand for products used on COVID patients and lessened demand for products that were not used when non-critical procedures were suspended to increase capacity for COVID patients.

“This resulted in low inventory for critical products and higher inventory for non-critical products. As demand begins to normalize coming out of COVID and logistic transit times become more reliable, BD is right-sizing manufacturing operations to realign current inventory and future demand.

“In addition, the Drogheda site has been manufacturing components for embecta since BD spun off this new, independent, diabetes care company in April 2022. embecta, which has operations in Dún Laoghaire, will be taking responsibility for manufacturing those components. This results in the reduction of a production line in Drogheda.

“These combined factors will result in a targeted reduction of 60 positions in Drogheda over the course of 15 months to right-size its manufacturing operations with today’s realities. Given the length of the time, BD expects natural attrition and retirements to reduce the number of employees actually affected. For those who are affected, we are committed to treating each person affected by this decision with compassion and respect.

“This difficult strategic decision is not a reflection on the performance of the site. The site has met our operational expectations, but other business factors drove these actions. BD remains committed to growing in Ireland and intends to continue investing in its facilities across the country.

“An example of this commitment was announced last month when BD held the grand opening of a new €4 million research and development facility in Blackrock, Dublin and announced an additional €30 million investment to expand its manufacturing facility in Enniscorthy, Wexford, which will create more than 85 new jobs in Ireland.”

Local TDs react

Reacting to the news, Labour TD Ged Nash said that the news that job losses at BD is being contemplated is very worrying indeed and that his thoughts are with workers at this very concerning time.

“Union representatives from SIPTU and Connect will now enter negotiations with management” he said.“I have been in regular contact with trade unions and some workers at the Donore Road facility in recent days and it is important that IDA and government works over the next two weeks to minimise the number of positions that are at risk at the plant.”

Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster TD also expressed her shock and concern at the news describing the job losses as “a hammer blow to the loyal employees and employment in Drogheda.

“The 60 people losing their jobs equal just over a quarter of the total BD workforce in Drogheda. A loyal and skilled workforce that work a demanding shift pattern to the highest standards. The 60 families affected will be devastated by this news.”

“As the company is doing so well and is financially stable, I sincerely hope that BD puts together an appropriate package for those that will lose their jobs.

 “Simon Coveney, TD as Minister for Enterprise should be looking at these job losses with concern, as Drogheda as bled jobs in recent years. I intend to raise this matter with him at the soonest possible opportunity.”

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