My Department and I are closely monitoring the ongoing situation at SK Biotek in Swords. My understanding is that the company has placed a number of its employees on protective notice. This has resulted in the temporary laying-off of up to 142 staff. Not all of the firm’s workers, however, have been similarly affected.
I understand that the company’s decision followed a dispute between management and staff at the plant, which had resulted in industrial action being taken in recent weeks. The company has stated that its core manufacturing operations have had to be suspended on account of that industrial action.
Workplace disputes are never welcome news – for workers, for employers and for the Irish economy as a whole. It is clearly in the interests of both sides that this dispute does not continue. As it stands, the facility is not operating as normal and employees are temporarily out of work. I would therefore urge both parties to engage meaningfully with one another, and through the industrial relations machinery of the State, in an effort to find a solution.
I am keenly aware of how significant an employer this company is in the North Dublin area, with 370 people normally working at its facility in Swords. These are valuable jobs – in a key industry – which makes it all the more important that this situation be resolved.
IDA Ireland is aware of the situation and is in close contact with the company and the Workplace Relations Commission stands ready to support negotiations. I would urge both parties to enter into talks with a view to resolving the situation as soon as possible.