GSK assurance that jobs are safe

GLAXOSMITHKLINE has confirmed that there are no plans to shed jobs at its local factory after cuts were announced at one of its plants in the Republic of Ireland.

The company plans to cut 130 jobs at its factory in Dungarvan, County Waterford, which had sparked rumours locally that jobs may not be secure.

A GSK spokesman said that no positions were under threat and that the company is looking to increase the range of items the Montrose factory produces.

In April it was announced that it was in the running for a £500million investment which could create up to 1,000 in the area.

The site is one of four in the UK being assessed by the pharmaceutical company for the potential investment, prompted by a change in legislation which will favourably off-set corporation tax against products developed and patented in the UK.

The spokesman said: “As far as the announcement at Dungarvan is concerned, that will have absolutely no impact on Montrose.

“Montrose has actually brought on to site a number of additional products over the last year and is looking to extend the range.

“Right now we are in the process of bringing in more products which is indicative that business is increasing.”

The manufacture of some of the company’s steroidal products for the treatment of skin conditions has already been reintroduced to the plant to supply another of its divisions. It bought over the dermatological company Steifel in 2009 and the Montrose factory manufactures the active ingredients used in skin treatments for conditions such as eczema.

It also transferred biomanufacturing of several products to Montrose from one of its factories in India.

The 280 staff received a ringing endorsement from GSK chief executive Andrew Witty during a visit to the factory, who said the plant is now “globally competitive” and that the move is a reflection of its “extraordinary emphasis on efficiency”.

It underlined the reversal in the factory’s fortunes from around 10 years ago when it was initially put up for sale and ultimately faced being axed by GSK before being reprieved at the 11th hour.

The Dungarvan factory will lose 48 jobs when Panadol products are moved to Spain between 2012 and 2014.

A further 82 employees will be made redundant over the next two years as part of a cost-cutting programme.

Despite the announcement of job losses, the company said it is still committed to its Irish interests.