Union representatives will meet management at the BOSE audio systems plant in Carrickmacross next week, after the multinational suddenly announced it is to close the plant in April, with the loss of 140 jobs. The company has been manufacturing audio products in Monaghan since 1978 but will wind down operations within three months. In a statement on Thursday evening, the US-based business said it would be consolidating its wholly-owned manufacturing operations, closing its facilities in Columbia (South Carolina, USA), and Carrickmacross, Ireland, in order to streamline the company’s global supply chain.
BOSE which has its headquarters at Framingham in Massachusetts was founded by a college Professor and classical music enthusiast Dr Amar Bose in 1964. Before he died in 2013, Dr. Bose donated a majority stake in his company to MIT, the Boston school where he earned three degrees in electrical engineering and taught a course in acoustics. The company employs around 10,500 people internationally and has sales of $3.3 billion.
Carrickmacross provides final assembly for select home theatre systems and radios for the European market, as well as some remanufacturing for the region. The Irish operation is due to transfer to BOSE facilities in Malaysia and Mexico.
BOSE executive Vice-President of global operations and corporate development engineering, Bryan Fontaine, said the move came to keep pace with demand from customers and resellers. He said the company’s rapid global growth required them to keep pace with their customers, dealers, distributors, resellers and stores and to serve them as efficiently as possible. These were difficult decisions because they impacted on their very capable teams in Ireland and South Carolina, he said, and he went on to thank the local communities including Carrickmacross for their years of support.
SIPTU Manufacturing Division Organiser Jim McVeigh said the workers were told today by management that the plant was to close in the coming weeks. This came as a complete bolt out of the blue for the workers. It is devastating news for staff, their families and the wider community, he said. Workers have been given a day off today (Friday). Mr McVeigh said he intended to meet the workers and management of the plant on Monday afternoon to discuss what could be done to save their jobs. On Monday evening SIPTU representatives will brief local politicians on the situation and enlist their support in the union’s efforts to save the jobs. He added: “the vast majority of the workforce lives in Monaghan and the plant closure will have a very significant negative impact on the local economy. There are over 140 people employed at this plant and SIPTU is committed to doing everything possible to protect their interests.”
Cavan/Monaghan Fine Gael TD Sean Conlan said he was very sad to hear of the closure of the BOSE plant in Carrickmacross owing to their global restructuring plan.
“The loss of jobs at Bose, which has been a major employer in South Monaghan for many years, is very upsetting for employees and their families, and the fact that this closure is due to take place so soon adds further stress. I have contacted the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, to ask that his department coordinates with the IDA in the hope of extending the notice period.”
“It is important now that alternative employment is found for those who have been left out of work due to today’s decision. I can confirm that the IDA is currently contacting their network of offices worldwide to try to find a suitable company to invest in the region and take on this highly skilled workforce. All the supports of the State will be made available to all of the workers affected by this situation”, said Mr Conlan.
Midlands North West Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy, who is from Carrickmacross, said: “I know many of the 140 full time BOSE staff personally and I am absolutely devastated to hear of the planned closure of this manufacturing plant in Carrickmacross. The plant is a well established local employer and the announcement today will cause widespread disbelief. Today’s announcement is not just a harsh blow to the staff and their families but to the wider community and local economy, which will be severely impacted by the closure of the plant.”
“Unfortunately, this area has been ignored by too long by successive Governments. I recently highlighted the fact that Monaghan has only has two visits by the IDA in the past 5 years and many will remember that Bose was the last significant employer attracted to this region by the IDA in the late 70s. I am calling on Minister Bruton to immediately engage with the senior management at the plant and attempt to preserve these jobs.”
Full report in next week’s Northern Standard.