A leading trade unionist has said that the way Schivo NI Ltd, informed workers that the company had been placed in administration last Thursday was an “absolute disgrace” and warned a half century tradition of manufacturing at the old Molins and MPE site could be coming to an end.
Liam Gallagher, of Unite, said the abrupt manner in which a cohort of the 83 strong workforce were told their jobs were on the line, was more in keeping with “a Victorian mill owner” than a 21st century employer.
“The way the workers were notified, being brought in on the night shift on Thursday, this was the first time they were told about it, this was absolutely disgraceful,” said Mr. Gallagher.
He expressed disappointment at how the Schivo Group, a globally recognised multinational, had handled the matter.
“For a company of that stature to treat workers like that in 2017 is reminiscent of a mill owner in Victorian times.
“Workers at the factory are now left facing into an uncertain future going into 2017. Many of them are skilled trades people of long-standing. They have mortgages, rents, food bills and other financial commitments, which are now thrown totally into disarray.”
Mr. Gallagher said Unite had warned over Schivo’s long-term commitment to Derry and had fought the company over the non-acknowledgment of a 1985 recognition agreement.
The trade unionist said Unite’s focus now was on assisting workers through a difficult time.
“Unite is working with the workers at the Maydown plant to try and protect them and secure their statutory rights,” said Mr. Gallagher.
“The workers were expecting to be paid this week. We all now await the decision of the administrator.
“Unfortunately, this will be a worrying time for workers who have a right to be paid for work done and a right to their statutory redundancy payments.”
Mr. Gallagher also warned that the bigger picture showed manufacturing in Derry in further decline.
“The wider implications are that the engineering base, which has been on the site since 1964, looks like it is coming to an end.
“This brings into sharp focus once again the continued decline of the manufacturing base in the North West.
“It also challenges our local politicians and city council to explain what, if any, regeneration strategy exists in the city to protect the jobs that we have and to attract new skilled employers to the city.”
Schivo said it had no further comment to make than the statement issued on Friday.