STAFF at the pharmaceutical plant MSD were left reeling after the US company announced 70 redundancies at its Brinny plant outside Bandon.
The unexpected blow was delivered to workers at a virtual address on Tuesday morning who were left shaken by the 10% staff cull across various departments. The plant, which manufactures medicines, has been in West Cork for 35 years and is one of the region’s largest employers, employing approximately 700 people in skilled roles.
Staff were told the voluntary redundancies were part of an ‘evolving site strategy to ensure continued viability for the long-term.’
It is believed it’s linked to the company’s new focus on developing and making vaccines. A consultation process is now underway to secure the redundancies which are being sought from operators, support staff, quality control and others. This is expected to last several weeks.
Bandon Business Association (BBA) said the job losses were ‘bad news for the individuals, particularly at a time when the cost of living is rising, and for the town.’ The BBA’s Hilary O’Farrell said the MSD staff shopped in Bandon and contributed to the community: ‘This is a blow for everyone.’
A company statement said the job losses were ‘a key part of MSD Brinny’s evolving site strategy to ensure continued viability for the long-term’.
The plant has been behind some of MSD’s successful medicines for oncology, hepatitis c, and rheumatoid arthritis.
A €300m investment since 2018 saw the construction of a vaccine drug substance facility, and the site is now specialising in the development and manufacture of innovative vaccines and testing of immuno-oncology medicines.
MSD, which has six sites in Ireland, stressed its commitment to all of them. However, Brinny staff were understandably shocked by the announcement as a job in Brinny was traditionally regarded as a ‘job for life’.
The company has invested over $4bn in its Irish operations and its turnover ranks its as one of Ireland’s top 20 companies.