Union concerned over MPE jobs

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The trade union Unite has expressed concern after workers at Maydown Precision Engineering (MPE) received letters on Tuesday (August 11) warning of the potential for an “unspecified numbers of job losses at the company.”

The development follows the acquisition of the long-standing Londonderry manufacturer by the Waterford headquartered Schivo Group, first revealed in this paper three weeks ago.

Philip Oakes, Regional Officer at Unite said: “We are very disappointed that the new owners of MPE have decided to exclude the union from their plans for redundancies in the workforce.

“It is unacceptable and a breach of our existing recognition agreement that we only found out about the planned job losses when members came forward with letters from management.

“Unite was hoping that the acquisition of Maydown by Schivo NI would mean a better working relationship with the union. Unfortunately, instead workers have been issued letters warning about unspecified numbers of job losses at the company which raises serious concerns for the future.

“Unite is asking that incoming management come clean on their plans and engage with the union as the recognised representative of the workforce. We are committed to playing a positive role in safeguarding jobs and the success of the business in the future.

“Maydown Precision Engineering is a mainstay of the northwest economy and has a vital regional role as a supplier of parts to Bombardier. We are calling on management to reconsider their approach and engage positively; Unite will not be found wanting in working constructively to secure employment at Maydown.”

The Sentinel has put Mr Oake’s claims to Schivo and will carry a response oncer received.

Announcing the takeover last month Schivo owner and CEO Seamus Kilgannon said: “This deal shows that Schivo is willing to invest in the long-term future of the company.

“This is a significant expansion into the aerospace industry that will enable Schivo to benefit from the expected global growth of the aerospace market.

“MPE has long-standing experience of successfully servicing the aerospace market and is an excellent strategic fit for Schivo. This acquisition considerably strengthens and broadens Schivo’s key technical engineering expertise in supplying the aerospace market, and will increase the organisation’s sales and revenues from the sector.

“This deal creates a significant indigenous engineering supplier to the global aerospace industry on the island of Ireland – one whose customers work on Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier programs.”

It’s been an eventful twelve months at the Maydown firm.

A year ago the English-based Iranian venture capitalist Amin Amiri became a board member and suggested a £2.5m capital investment at the plant could yield up to 40 new jobs.

On the same day Michael J. Ryan, General Manager of Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast, who accompanied Pierre Beadoin, President of its Québécois parent firm, to a meeting with the then Investment Minister Nigel Dodds in 2008 to help seal a deal that resulted in wings and nacelles for the company’s CSeries jets being made in Northern Ireland, departed MPE as a company director.

MPE began life as a new venture that rose from the ashes of the former Molins plant, a firm which itself had risen from its cigar-making origins in pre-revolutionary Cuba to become a leading machine supplier for the tobacco industry and was based at Maydown for many years.

Schivo, serves the medical device, instrumentation, aerospace, process control, electronics, IT/Telecom, automotive and oil and gas industries.

It has established a reputation for innovation, performance and excellence within it’s customer base.

Employing circa 150 qualified, trained and empowered staff, Schivo operates a fully integrated manufacturing and supply capability with high levels of customer focus, quality and cost competitiveness.