FG Wilson lays off 760 workers in Northern Ireland

By Murray Pollok18 September 2012

Around 70% of FG Wilson's small gensets will now be made in Tianjin, China.

Around 70% of FG Wilson's small gensets will now be made in Tianjin, China.

Caterpillar-owned generator manufacturer FG Wilson has announced 760 job losses at its four manufacturing facilities in Northern Ireland.

Caterpillar said the measures had been taken to reduce costs in response to lower demand for small generator sets from customers because of the ongoing Eurozone crisis. Redundancies of employees and agency workers will be complete by the end of 2012 at the facilities in Larne, Belfast, Springvale and Monkstown.

The latest redundancies followed a separate announcement in June that FG Wilson was moving production of its 5.5 to 22 kVA rated 400 Series gensets to Tianjin, China, to be closer to its growing customer base. Approximately 70% of its small generators will now be made in China.

The announcement has sparked a big political and media reaction in the UK, with FG Wilson being a major employer in Northern Ireland.

FG Wilson's Northern Ireland operations director Robert Kennedy, said; "We realise the announcements we're making affect a company that has a rich history in Northern Ireland. However, given our current structure and economic environment, portions of our portfolio are not competitive, and we need to react accordingly for long-term growth and to compete for industry leadership.

"Caterpillar is committed to building the remaining business in Northern Ireland and to working closely with local government, including Invest Northern Ireland, as we're focused on keeping it competitive and sustainable for the future."

FG Wilson has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Caterpillar since 1999 and is one of Europe's largest diesel generating set manufacturers. It has production facilities in Northern Ireland, Brazil, China, India and the USA, and is one of the UK's top 100 exporters.

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