East Antrim’s manufacturing sector was dealt a double blow on Wednesday with job loss announcements by two major companies.
Caterpillar is axing 100 posts across its three sites in Larne, Monkstown and West Belfast,
The US engineering firm pointed to current weaknesses in the economies of some important markets as impacting on global demand for a number of its products.
A statement from Caterpillar read: “The company is therefore taking necessary measures during this time to help support the competitiveness and sustainability of the business for the future. This includes reducing our permanent workforce by approximately 50 positions and releasing approximately 50 agency workers.
“We know this is difficult for our employees and their families, and resources will be provided to assist impacted employees during this transition.”
Meanwhile, Schrader Electronics is releasing 42 temporary employees from its Carrickfergus plant before the end of the year.
The American firm, which makes tyre pressure gauges for the car industry, stated: “Towards the latter end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015, the company increased its workforce temporarily to meet an increase in global vehicle and aftermarket growth.
“As demand has now stabilised, the company has been undertaking a phased return to its standard, three-shift, five days a week manufacturing pattern.”
The announcements come on the back of Michelin’s plans to close its Ballymena plant by 2018.
Davy Thompson, Unite regional co-ordinating officer, said the union shares the concern of members who are now faced with the threat of redundancy in the run up to Christmas.
He added: “Both these announcements have the potential to threaten further employment along the supply-chain.”
Calling for support for those threatened with redundancy, East Antim MLA Alistair Ross warned “ many people will be heading into the Christmas period knowing that they will be out of work and looking for new employment opportunities”.