Schivo administration latest blow to Derry’s once mighty manufacturing base

Philip Oakes, Unite's Regional Organiser.
Philip Oakes, Unite's Regional Organiser.

A trade unionist has warned the placement of Schivo NI Ltd., formerly Maydown Precision Engineering, in administration, is just the latest blow to Derry’s once vibrant manufacturing base.

Philip Oakes, regional officer with the Unite union, lambasted the Northern Ireland Executive for failing to implement a stand-alone manufacturing strategy, as 83 workers at the engineering firm faced into an uncertain future on Friday.

“This decision is the latest body blow to the industrial base of the North West,” said Mr Oakes.

“It also reinforces the need for both NI Executive parties to reconsider their opposition to an industrial strategy necessary to safeguard jobs in this vital sector and to secure balanced regional development.”

Mr Oakes previously warned over the erosion of engineering jobs in Derry.

The city’s once huge manufacturing base has been slashed from 18,000 jobs in 1990 to just 3,000 today.

Mr Oakes said Unite would assist over 60 members at the Derry Schivo plant over the coming days.

He also said he will be asking Schivo whether orders and contracts on the Derry factory’s books would now be transferred to Schivo’s operation in Munster.

“Unite will seek clarity on whether the work previously done at the Derry site will now transfer to the Schivo (Ireland) site in Waterford,” he said.

“We would be very concerned if this turns out to be another case like Chain Reaction Cycles where large numbers of workers were made redundant after an external acquisition resulted in work being transferred elsewhere. Legislation is needed to protect Northern Ireland employees – it is simply too easy to make workers redundant here.

“In the coming days, Unite will engage with the workforce to discuss our next steps. Our priority is to secure the best possible outcome for our members”, Mr Oakes said.