500 pending job losses in Shannon with next year’s closure of Molex may be just the beginning according to Joe Robbins who is of the view Brexit will hurt employment in the Mid-West.
Whispers of potential redundancies had been circulating around the Shannon Free Zone over recent months with regard to Molex but none as severe as the closure of the factory. For many the news was shocking but for Director of CareerWise Recruitment, Joe Robbins the announcement was not a surprise. “As time goes by and your product line comes to an end and you’re looking at new products, margins, I think it was a business decision taken but I wasn’t surprised”.
“For the twenty years we’ve been in business, Molex has been one of the top employers and for much longer, over forty years, I know people from the Golf Club, Camogie, GAA involved in Molex, I know some of the senior management, I’ve placed people in the company, it’s an absolutely fantastic company, very progressive with superb people. I’d like to reach out to everyone there and say how sorry we are that this happened. I know Molex will treat the people very well in terms of redundancy packages, out placement and everything else, it is very sad”.
When asked what his advice for Molex employees would be, the Offaly native was confident those who wished to secure a job would be successful in their endeavours. “If things can continue and we get Brexit sorted, we’ll find that a lot of the people leaving Molex because they are so well qualified will find jobs in the region, not just the Shannon area but also companies in Limerick doing very well and some Galway companies just up the road on the motorway, I think a lot of those people will get sorted, those that are there for forty years may just take the opportunity now to retire. It’s very sad news for Molex and the people but I would be very encouraged by the number of companies in the region and that have come into the region the last few years”.
Both market demand and Brexit were key factors in the decision to wind Molex’s operations at Shannon, Joe felt. “With the Brexit decision now, I think there are a number of other companies struggling and we may see a few more announcements coming up but overall inter-trades are very low, commodity prices are very low, the macro economy is very strong worldwide, the two big issues are Brexit and the Tariffs with Trump and China. Strangely the Trump China tariffs are going to have a benefit to Ireland because you’re finding the American companies are really scared about this, they don’t want the supply chain to be dried up”.
He continued, “Brexit is going to affect the food and agri business no question, it will affect the supply of goods and services in and out of Ireland but my overall sense is that if there is some sort of a deal there is pent up demand that is really going to fly once Brexit is sorted. Brexit has had an affect on some companies but also on decision making, a lot of companies are putting off decisions until it does get sorted, when it does get sorted and I think it will, the demand is going to really drive the thing forward. With low interest rates, the macro economy around the world doing very good and low commodity prices, I think it will get sorted and we will see other companies letting go of people but we just have to manage that”.
Robbins outlined that the Mid-West companies most at risk of future job losses are those doing business in the UK. “The UK companies are putting decisions on hold too. You’re going to see some more casualties before this gets sorted”.