Caterpillar cuts up to 250 jobs in Northern Ireland

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More than 200 jobs will be cut by US firm Caterpillar in Northern Ireland.

The move could see the closure of its Monkstown plant in Newtownabbey.

The world’s largest manufacturer of heavy construction equipment, Caterpillar employs 1,800 people in Northern Ireland with factories in Larne, Newtownabbey and west Belfast.

The firm has been hit by a global downturn in mining and oil exploration which has reduced demand for its products.

In Northern Ireland, much of its work involves the manufacture of diesel generators.

Between 200-250 jobs will be cut over the next two years, Caterpillar said in a statement.

“This restructuring is part of the company’s ongoing plans to reduce cost in response to current economic and business conditions,” a statement read.

“Despite these contemplated actions, we remain committed to Northern Ireland.

“In fact, these potential changes would make us more efficient and competitive over the longer term.”

Workers received the news in a series of meetings at 14:00 BST


John Campbell, BBC News NI Economics and Business Editor

Caterpillar counts the mining and oil industries among its main customers.

When commodity prices were booming these industries couldn’t get enough of Caterpillar’s products.

But the global fall in commodity prices mean they are spending much less and so Caterpillar has faced quarter after quarter of declining sales.

Last month, the firm said it expected no significant growth in demand for its energy and transportation products for the rest of 2016.

It has responded by cutting costs – almost 14,000 jobs have been axed across its global business since mid-2015.

The workforce will be hoping this latest round of cuts is the last.



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