*Helen Downes. Photograph: Liam Burke/Press 22
Manufacturing companies in Shannon are collaborating in “an unprecedented way” during a very “trying time” for businesses.
Shannon Chamber’s weekly conference call with member companies in the region heard how they have initiated new measures to keep their doors open and meet needs of essential supply chains. Employment is also being maintained in a number of factories.
CEO of Shannon Chamber, Helen Downes acknowledged that the current climate is “an extremely trying time for everyone”. At a business level, she pointed out the adjustments made including physical distance measures now in practice on manufacturing floors, corridors and canteens of multiple buildings.
Despite this, she maintained that “leaders in Shannon have risen to the challenge”. Helen stated that businesses are struggling to stay afloat, keep employees happy as well as fostering a safe working environment. “These leaders feel a responsibility to their staff in the current climate to keep them safe and well but they are also trying to sustain their businesses and in some cases, undertake research and development to bring new product lines on stream when they get the clearance to be fully operational again”.
She warned that post COVID-19 consequences could be dire for businesses in the region. “Our industry leaders have families too and understand that while there is risk in remaining open, which they, like all essential providers, are mitigating against, they know that if they don’t do everything within their power to sustain operations, the consequences down the road could be a lot worse than they are today. That’s a very stark reality.
“It is also a difficult time for companies considered non-essential. They have had to implement a different set of measures to remain open with their employees working remotely. That brings a different set of challenges for companies but they have adjusted and continue to remain operational and maintain in contact with all their staff, striving to maintain business as usual”.
300 employers with over 10,000 people were members of Shannon Chamber before the outbreak of the virus. She is hopeful they will receive necessary support. “We simply have to look to the future and try to ensure that the levels of employment that we had before the pandemic are maintained to some degree in the new, as yet unknown, future.”