GlaxoSmithKline has scrapped plans to close its Stiefel manufacturing plant in Sligo, Ireland next year and will instead invest €10m in upgrading the facility.
It will act as a dedicated consumer healthcare manufacturing facility for Stiefel from 2014 in a move that will save 120 out of its 180-strong workforce.
The job cuts will come over the next two years as the facility transitions from the production of pharmaceutical to skin healthcare products. Staff were informed of the development at a meeting on site early yesterday morning.
As part of the changeover GSK said it would “develop new skills and improve capacity”, which will mean it can take on an estimated 50 additional staff in 2014.
David Pulman, president of global manufacturing and supply at GSK, said: “We need an agile and flexible supply network – both internally and externally – to support growth and the rapid development of new product innovation.
“Looking to the future, Sligo will play an important role in our Stiefel consumer business.”
GSK, which acquired US skincare company Stiefel in 2009 for $3.6bn, wants the Sligo plant to be a dedicated supply site for Stiefel's consumer products and home to its liquid bottling operation.
GSK's investment in the plant will enhance its technical expertise and capacity, and in the future the site will gain a new role in the future as a development centre for Stiefel consumer products such as Physiogel and Oilatum.
Pat McLoughlin, site director of the plant in Sligo, said: “[The] announcement is the culmination of many years of hard work by the entire team. The workforce has shown tremendous effort, commitment and flexibility through a difficult period, increasing productivity by 40 per cent in the last three years. This has been a key factor in the decision to choose Sligo for future development.”
The plans to ensure the Sligo facility remained open were supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, whose minister Richard Bruton said the “very welcome news is a great vote of confidence in the workforce, in Sligo and in Ireland”.
He added: “Through the continued implementation of the Action Plan for Jobs, I am determined to ensure that we build on our multinational investments in Ireland, retain the jobs we have and create the additional jobs we need”.