END OF THE LINE FOR BOSE

Former Bose Plant, Carrickmacross  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Former Bose Plant, Carrickmacross Photo: © Michael Fisher

NO SOUND AT BOSE AS PLANT FINALLY SHUTS DOWN 

Michael Fisher  Northern Standard  Thursday June 4th Carrickmacross News p.35

They came in small groups to collect their redundancy payments. Over the course of several hours last Friday, 140 workers left the Bose plant in Carrickmacross, having clocked out on Thursday for the last time. The car park gates are locked and over the next week, preparations will be made by a Dublin company to auction the plant and machinery inside the building. Viewing begins next Thursday and the public auction will be on Friday 12th June, the final chapter in a 37-year history of production at the site.

Gates Locked at Former Bose Plant, Carrickmacross  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Gates Locked at Former Bose Plant, Carrickmacross Photo: © Michael Fisher

As they left the plant, the workers again pointed out that this had been a profitable operation for Bose, manufacturing high quality sound systems, and their Irish base in Europe had never been affected by industrial disputes. They said they had always shown their loyalty to the company and had generally been treated well by their employer, until the founder of the company Dr Amar Bose had died two years ago.

Empty Car Park at Former Bose Plant, Carrickmacross  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Empty Car Park at Former Bose Plant, Carrickmacross Photo: © Michael Fisher

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys T.D. said she had been in contact with Jobs Minister Richard Bruton on a regular basis, most recently this week regarding the search for an alternative investor for the Bose facility. She said she had been informed that the Industrial Development Authority (responsible for attracting foreign direct investment to Ireland) was continuing to seek an alternative use for the Bose building and was highlighting the strengths of the border region as a location for inward investment.

Former Bose Plant, Carrickmacross  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Former Bose Plant, Carrickmacross Photo: © Michael Fisher

Minister Humphreys told the Northern Standard: “As the existing factory is not owned by Bose, the IDA is in discussions with the relevant parties on how the facility could be made available for a new investor. In response to the Bose announcement Minister Bruton established an interagency group to co-ordinate the response from the state in terms of awareness of entitlements and opportunities for the affected staff of the company and to pursue a replacement investor. This group is chaired by Enterprise Ireland and includes representatives from IDA Ireland, the Local Enterprise Office, the Education and Training Boards from Cavan/Monaghan and Louth/Meath, and the Department of Social Protection. I have been assured that the Department of Social Protection has been very active in terms of meeting the staff in relation to that Department’s services, and the Educational Training Board are pursuing relevant courses and training.”

Former Bose Plant, Carrickmacross  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Former Bose Plant, Carrickmacross Photo: © Michael Fisher

Minister Humphreys said the Bose announcement in January had been a huge blow to the area, and a terrible shock for staff. Her focus now was on helping to secure an alternative investor for the facility if possible. This process could take some time, but she remained hopeful that Carrickmacross could attract another employer into the town. She added: “As well as continuing to seek a new investor for the facility, it is important that all possible training and up-skilling opportunities are made available to the Bose workers. Job opportunities in Cavan and Monaghan have improved considerably in the last year or so; the number of people on the Live Register across the two counties has dropped by an average of 25% and in total 14,300 additional people are back at work in the border area since the launch of the Action Plan for Jobs in 2012. I will continue to work with Minister Bruton to seek alternative employment options for all workers affected by the Bose closure.”

Former Bose Plant, Carrickmacross  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Former Bose Plant, Carrickmacross Photo: © Michael Fisher

As the BOSE plant closed its doors for the last time on Friday, Carrickmacross-based Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy said the closure of the plant was devastating for the local economy and community who had been let down by the government. The MEP said:

“Today is a sad day for the staff, their families and the wider community of Carrickmacross as we witness the closure of long- standing employer BOSE and the loss of 140 full time jobs in the area. I wish to extend my solidarity, and that of my party colleagues, to the workers and their families on what I am sure must be a difficult day for them personally.”

Empty Car Park at Former Bose Plant, Carrickmacross  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Empty Car Park at Former Bose Plant, Carrickmacross Photo: © Michael Fisher

“I believe that the closure today is indicative of the lack of an effective regional jobs plan by this government.  Since the closure announcement in January I have been in correspondence with Minister Richard Bruton and with the IDA. I held a meeting with IDA Chief Executive Martin Shanahan in his office where I urged that all possible opportunities to identify an alternative employer for the BOSE site to explored. I regret to say that I do not believe that the government or its agencies have done enough to ensure that either the plant remained open or that alternative employment could be secured for the premises.”

Matt Carthy said people in Carrickmacross and South Monaghan felt very let down by the government agencies who had not delivered for the area and he was hugely disappointed on their behalf. He concluded:

“We must redouble our efforts to minimise the impact of this closure on our community and local economy and I am calling on local government representatives to put pressure on their colleagues to ensure that Carrickmacross is not left behind. I have again written to Minister Richard Bruton requesting real action on this front and I will continue to work with my party colleagues, including Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, on this matter.”

Gates Locked at Former Bose Plant, Carrickmacross  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Gates Locked at Former Bose Plant, Carrickmacross Photo: © Michael Fisher

Monaghan County Councillor Colm Carthy is a former Bose employee. The Sinn Féin representative said the closure of the Bose plant was the end of an era. Not only was it a huge blow for the town, it was a huge blow to the whole of South Monaghan and beyond. Councillor Carthy told the Northern Standard:

“The staff of this facility are a family and they are devastated to have lost their jobs. We need to push now for a replacement company to come in to the facility as soon as possible. We have already seen the lack of respect local councillors have been shown by central government in their dealings with all the relevant bodies who are working on getting replacement jobs into the area. This cannot be allowed to continue. We, as a council, will continue to push the government to do all in their power, not only to utilise the facility that is already in place but, more importantly, to utilise the talented workforce that has been left behind.”

BOSE TO CLOSE CARRICKMACROSS PLANT

Bose factory, Carrickmacross  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Bose factory, Carrickmacross Photo: © Michael Fisher

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. boselogo

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. Boseheadphone

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.

siptuSIPTU 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.”

Sean Conlan TD  Photo: FG

Sean Conlan TD Photo: FG

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.

Matt Carthy MEP  Photo: SF

Matt Carthy MEP Photo: SF

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.