ENTERPRISE Minister Richard Bruton has been advised that Dell plans to lay off 150 people in Raheen over the next two months under a voluntary redundancy scheme.
When Dell was contacted on Tuesday, a spokesperson could not give a figure on how many people would be leaving its Limerick operation under a redundancy programme that is being rolled out across Europe. But the Limerick Leader was given to understand this would be significantly less than 150.
A letter has since emerged, however, that appears to contradict this. It was sent to Minister Bruton by Dell’s HR director Caroline Grant last Friday.
“I am writing to officially inform you that Dell Products, our operation based in Raheen Park in Limerick, is offering our employees the opportunity to avail of a voluntary separation programme,” Ms Grant writes.
“This programme has been made available to enhance competitiveness and to maintain a solid foundation on which to grow our business. A similar programme is open in 11 other countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa and is entirely voluntary. It is anticipated that approximately 150 people of our 910 permanent employees will avail of the opportunity and will leave the company over the next two months. We continue to recruit for key roles across our operations in Dublin, Cork and Limerick primarily for our solutions business and for Dell Financial Services which continues to grow.”
Attached to the letter was a chart detailing that of the redundancies Dell anticipates in Limerick, 100 would be in operations, 30 in IT/finance and 20 in client solutions.
A spokesperson for Dell on Tuesday had denied there would be a reduction of 150 in Limerick.
“A call went out for voluntary redundancies but there was never a specific target sought. It was left completely open to all staff save for certain areas regarded as business-critical where they couldn’t apply,” the spokesperson said.
The redundancies will begin at the end of this month as part of the company’s “ongoing transformation programme from which Limerick has benefited and is a central part through the Dell Solutions Centre and Global Command Centre”.
Many staff in Limerick had long service records which would be reflected in their redundancy packages, the spokesperson added.
Efforts by the Limerick Leader to clarify the contents of Ms Grant’s letter were unsuccessful this Wednesday.
Meanwhile, local election candidate Frank Mulqueen has expressed his concern that Limerick was “bearing the brunt” of the job cuts.
“Dell over the years has kept Limerick ticking over. However it is now clear that commitments made by Dell to Limerick and our people are not being honoured. While it is understandable that Dell is no longer the IT giant it once was, it seems the Limerick plant has borne the brunt of its downsizing,” said Mr Mulqueen, a candidate for Fine Gael in Raheen and Limerick City West.
“I am hoping and expecting the IDA to step in quickly and assess the skills of the staff available from the layoffs and act quickly to ensure that Regeneron are made aware of the pool of talent being discarded.”
US biopharma company Regeneron has bought the former Dell production building in Raheen and hopes to start manufacturing drugs there by the end of 2015.
It was “imperative” Mr Mulqueen said, that “the IDA strike fast and get these highly qualified (Dell) staff in front of Regeneron recruiters quickly to lessen the blow to the Mid-West”.