Over 300 job cuts announced at pharma giant Novartis in Ireland

More than 300 Novartis employees are set to lose their jobs at the pharmaceutical plant in Cork.

The disappointing announcement was made today at a meeting of staff in the Ringaskiddy facility. More than half of the workforce faces losing their jobs by 2022.

The Swiss pharma giant which employs approximately 1,200 people in Ireland at two sites in Cork in Dublin said it would also relocate a number of services roles to centres in Europe and Asia by the end of 2021.

Around 550 people work at Novartis Ringaskiddy, more than 300 of which are involved in the manufacturing process whilst the rest work in business support, administration, production planning and testing.

As one of the top ten pharmaceutical companies in the world Novartis spends €178m on wages, goods and services in Ireland every year. 

Novartis Ringaskiddy (Photo: Google Maps)

The company said: ‘This is a strategic decision and part of the ongoing evaluation of the Novartis manufacturing network around the world and transformation programmes.’

According to the RTE report, the Novartis business services centre in Booterstown is not likely to be affected.

Novartis Ringaskiddy Managing Director Shane Relihan said: “Today is a very difficult day for everyone associated with Novartis Ringaskiddy.

“With a proud reputation of making medicines for over 25 years, it is important to say that this decision is not a reflection of the performance of our dedicated colleagues who have worked hard to supply our customers and patients.

“While people absorb today’s news, we want to reassure our colleagues and their families that there is no immediate impact, Novartis will work closely with our employees and representative groups to support everyone during this period ahead, providing severance packages and outplacement services.

“We will also work with our industry partners across the pharmaceutical industry cluster here in Cork to identify future employment opportunities in the area.”

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said: “This news is a significant blow and very difficult for the highly skilled workers of Novartis and their families.

“I have spoken to the Ministers for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, as well as the IDA to ensure all available supports from state agencies are now open to the staff affected by this Novartis announcement.

“The staff are highly skilled in the competitive pharmaceutical industry and the state agencies will use the 3-year timeline laid out by Novartis to work with the company and the workers to protect employment.”

Responding to the news, Cork Labour TD Sean Sherlock said: “The loss of over 320 jobs at the plant is devastating.

“That this would come just a few weeks before Christmas will be a hard blow for many families. That is before taking into account the large number of ancillary jobs that are supported by Novartis, through sub contracts for services so the figure could be a lot higher.

“There are over 320 families facing into an uncertain future and whether they will be able to find jobs in the Cork region to match their skills.”