Two worst job loss firms got most cash
THE firms responsible for the two worst instances of redundancies in Northern Ireland in recent years were amongst the biggest recipients of dole outs from the people over the past decade, the Sentinel can reveal.
Whilst FG Wilson blamed market conditions for its announcement of over 700 job losses last week, the Sentinel can reveal that the firm - like Seagate, which closed its Limavady plant in 2008 with almost 1,000 redundancies - has been sheltered from market discipline here through public dole outs.
The paper can now reveal that whilst the beleagured engineering firm received £8m in public money in 2005/6, between 2002 and 2010 Seagate received more money in state assistance than any other firm in Northern Ireland.
The decision of another firm to abandon Northern Ireland for cheaper labour markets abraad comes after Jobs Minister Arlene Foster revealed the amount of benefit claimants in Londonderry in August rose from 8.5 per cent to 8.7 per cent of working age people and in Strabane it rose from 7.3 per cent to 7.4 per cent. Dole queues remained static in Limavady at 7.1 per cent last month.
Today the Sentinel reveals the amount of money the people gave to the two firms which separately announced the worst redundancies here in the past number of years.
The closure of Seagate’s Limavady plant in 2008 was the last major jobs blow experienced in Northern Ireland of a similar scale to FG Wilson’s shock announcement that it was downscaling its Larne and Belfast operations last week in favour of cheaper labour markets in Asia.
After Seagate, FG Wilson, received more money from the people of Northern Ireland than any other company between 2002 and 2010, with the exception of Bombardier Aerospace - Shorts Brothers Plc and Randox Laboratories Ltd.
The people doled out a whopping £8.04m to FG Wilson up to February 2010. This allowed the company to promote 155 new jobs but the subsidy clearly was not enough to sustain the net jobs long term.
Two separate subsidiaries of Seagate Technology - which also abandoned a plant in Northern Ireland for cheaper labour in Asia - received offers of £31.46million in state assistance from Invest Northern Ireland (Invest NI) between 2002 and 2010.
By the end of February £28.36million of this had been paid. This resulted in the creation of 585 jobs, which was in excess of the 343 jobs originally projected.
In 2005/6 Seagate Technology (Ireland) - the Londonderry-based plant - was offered £13.72million by the state. £13.63million of this has been paid to date with 333 jobs created. This offer alone was the third highest made to any firm in Northern Ireland since April 2002.
Three years earlier in 2002/3 the same company - Seagate Technology (Ireland) - was offered £10million by Invest NI. This has since been paid out in full resulting in the creation of 252 jobs in the North West.
But payments to the firm’s Limavady-based operation - which closed with the loss of almost 1000 jobs in 2008 - were not as successful as those to its sister plant in the Maiden City.
An offer of £7.76million to Seagate Technology Media (Ireland) in 2005/6 - of which £4.73million was eventually paid - ultimately failed to safeguard 787 jobs in Limavady for any significant length of time.
Listed alongside Seagate in the top ten recipients were Bombardier Aerospace - Short Brothers Plc, Randox Laboratories Ltd, FG Wilson (Engineering) Ltd, NYSE Technologies Development Ltd, Almac Clinical Services Limited, Citibank International Plc and Coca-Cola Hbc Northern Ireland Ltd. In total £62million was paid out to these companies and 2,025 jobs created since April 2002.
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