Lufthansa staff in shock as 400 now face anxious wait
TWO German companies have predicted very different futures for the Irish jobs market.
As Deutsche Bank announced 700 jobs in Dublin, Lufthansa was on the verge of pulling out of the country.
Workers at the Lufthansa Technik Airmotive facility in Rathcoole reacted with shock to news that they will find out only days before Christmas if they are to lose their jobs.
It followed a review of operations due to declining revenues and a shrinking international market.
Union representatives told the Herald that Lufthansa had agreed to a 30-day cooling-off period before making a final decision in mid-December.
However, while the plant's 410 staff are hopeful that negotiations will yield a different outcome, it is understood the decision to quit Ireland has been all but made.
Airmotive was established in 1980 by Aer Lingus but became part of the Lufthansa Technik group in 1997. It previously employed up to 700 people before cutbacks in recent years.
In a statement, managing director Wolfgang Moerig said he regretted the company had reached this point.
Many of the shocked staff leaving the plant yesterday were too upset to comment on the announcement.
However, John Woods, who has worked there for 27 years, said: "I was a bit surprised. It's been a strong company.
"The engine overhaul business has changed over the years – manufacturers are giving service guarantees rather than sending them out to MROs like us."
Mr Woods said he had a daughter at home, and the timing of the announcement around Christmas was terrible. "But you've got to look ahead, move on," he added.
His colleague Ciaran Mulholland said: "I'd like to be optimistic, but I don't think it's going to happen," he said.
Around the same time as Lufthansa made its announcement yesterday, Deutsche Bank said it would generate more than 700 jobs in Dublin.
The German bank, which employs 98,000 worldwide, has signed a lease on 100,000 square feet of office space in the Eastpoint Business Park.
With 330 staff already in the IFSC offices, the new jobs will take its Irish workforce to 1,000 and make it one of the biggest employers in the country.