WATERFORD has been dealt another major jobs blow today with confirmation that Waterford Stanley plans to cease the production of its cast iron heating stoves and cookers towards the end of the year with the loss of 33 jobs.
The manufacturing process is to be outsourced it was announced by the parent company, The Middleby Corporation. The decision has been taken following an ongoing review of the strategic business aims of Waterford Stanley Limited.
While production is to be outsourced the company said it remained committed to maintaining Waterford Stanley as the market-leading brand in stoves and cookers in Ireland and intends to continue to operate its sales, distribution, spare parts, marketing, after sales service, R&D and finance in Waterford.
Regrettably, there will be a 58% reduction in the workforce from 57 to 24, which is expected to affect most areas of the business. It is planned that these changes will take place on a phased basis over five months from October.
The decision to cease manufacturing in Waterford is part of a wider rationalisation of the business by The Middleby Corporation including the closure of the Coalbrookdale Foundry in the UK, which supplies cast iron to Waterford. It comes on the back of significant ongoing losses and high production costs in Waterford combined with a continuation of the major downturn in the sector, increased competition and ongoing market rationalisation across Europe. In addition to all of this, impending EU regulatory changes for heating appliances such as those produced in Waterford would require additional substantial investment.
The company will now enter into a formal 30-day consultation period with employees and their representatives to finalise the details of these changes. The business will continue to operate normally throughout the intervening months while the changes are implemented.
Mr. Najib Maalouf of The Middleby Corporation said: “The Middleby Corporation is committed to developing the market-leading Waterford Stanley brand in Ireland. These structural changes are part of a wider restructuring of our overall cast-iron business and will allow Waterford Stanley to create the conditions that will enable investment in new product development and allow the brand to flourish in the long term.
“We regret that there must be changes to the workforce, but we are consulting with employees and trade unions to ensure that this difficult process is managed sensitively.”