5 November 1998 Edition

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Krups closure a blow to Limerick

BY Roisín de Rossa

``No one will employ us again''. This is the problem facing the 500 Krups workers who last Friday lost their jobs. Most of the workers are women (men are in the majority in supervisory positions), some of whom have worked there for up to 30 years.

The Krups factory, which opened in 1964 and employed 1400 at its height, is in the middle of Limerick's Southside: Southill, Janeshill, Rathbane, Kennedy Park, Ballinacurra, where unemployment is widespread.

The factory was unionised with a strong Works Council elected from the shop floor. Pay and conditions were good. Tony Galvin, SIPTU spokesperson, stresses the good industrial relations over 25 years which came out of consultation between management and workers.

The French company Moulinex bought the plant in 1991 and in the last three years losses have multiplied. Freefall in the Asian and Russian economies are blamed for the closure. It is understood that machinery and work will go back to other Moulinex companies in France.

There is talk of retraining workers and the possibility of jobs in Dell who are recruiting at the moment and has promised 4,000 jobs. Tony Galvin agrees, many of these jobs in the newer companies do not have comparable conditions and pay to what exists in Krups.''

`Dell is Hell' is the way some people see it around here. Customised computers, with 24 hour delivery undertakings means variable shift work for assemblers. An eight hour shift might become 12 hours.

Dell is also one of the newer companies which don't allow unions, and worse, contract out their low skilled work, such as assembly work, to service companies like Contract Management Services.

CMS recruits for Dell, hires workers, assigns them to Dell for up to eleven and half months. Such temporary workers have no security, no rights, no potential to organise for better and fairer conditions. This situation is very much the norm amongst the multinational companies sited in Ireland.

Tony Galvin, told An Phoblacht that ``Conditions in the newer factories are not comparable to the conditions which existed in Krups.''

Mary Harney may twitter about high tech jobs replacing the unskilled work, but the reality is high tech labour relations which enable companies to play ludo with the Labour laws. Yellow Pack jobs should not be seen as a substitute for properly paid work where your workplace rights are firmly recognised.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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