Jobs secured as Caterpillar invests £5m

Published Wednesday, 29 January 2014
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Manufacturing firm Caterpillar has announced a £5.4m investment in Northern Ireland which will secure 100 local jobs.

Jobs secured as Caterpillar invests £5m
The company said it will continue to invest in Northern Ireland. (© UTV)

The US company is to expand its NI operations to produce articulated truck axles.

It expects the move will maintain up to 100 jobs at its plant in Larne, Co Antrim.

Robert Kennedy, from Caterpillar, said: "This important announcement primarily recognises the high standard of the facilities, processes, skills and expertise in NI."

The NI operations director added: "It is also a testament to the cost competitiveness of manufacturing in Northern Ireland and advantages the local facilities have in terms of proximity to customers, access to ports and other transportation infrastructure."

Production of the axles, which are a key component of Caterpillar's articulated trucks, got underway in NI on a preliminary basis some months ago.

The company said the parts will now be permanently sourced from local facilities.

Phil Handley, Caterpillar's Managing Director for Articulated Trucks, said: "Caterpillar NI operations are proven and very capable.

"We're happy with the level of quality we've had there, the team has been very responsive to our needs and has been really collaborating and working closely with us.

"It's an excellent source for these key components."

The announcement has been welcomed by local politicians.

Stewart Dickson, Alliance East Antrim MLA, described the development as "a vote of confidence in Caterpillar's highly skilled and dedicated workforce."

"It is tremendous news for the local and wider economy. It shows that Northern Ireland can play a part in a major international business deal.

"I am particularly pleased to see Caterpillar investing in Northern Ireland after 700 workers were made redundant two years ago," he added.

"This is the latest in a series of positive signs for our economy following a number of similar job announcements and contracts at other companies such as Bombardier, Terumo and Thales."

Alastair Ross, DUP MLA for East Antrim, said: "The decision to permanently source axles from the Larne plant is testament to the quality and expertise located in the plant, and proof that production plants in Northern Ireland can help the company remain globally competitive.

"This is such an important employer East Antrim, and today's announcement will be welcomed by everyone who holds the company in such high regard."

Roy Beggs, the UUP's East Antrim MLA, said: "700 jobs went at FG Wilsons in 2012 following the relocation of a major part of their generator manufacturing business to the Far East 18 months ago.

"Therefore the news that the company - now rebadged under the Caterpillar banner - is developing new lines which is securing the jobs that have remained in the Larne facility is very encouraging. It is to be hoped that additional employment will result from this investment."

© UTV News
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15 Comments
me in east antrim wrote (266 days ago):
what is happening is this. caterpillar won a probationary contract to provide axles for their heavy machines. they needed an initail group of full time workers to move from the larne plant to monkstown to start the process of setting up the lines that were needed in monkstown to make the axles. caterpillar then sought agency workers to work on this line. there was an increase in the initial probation order of axles and a subsequent downturn in the requirments of gensets made in the larne plant so they asked full time employees from larne to move to monkstown to help with this order of axles. the downturn in gensets has since worsened. with this effect, instead of having a redundancy situation, caterpillar decided to release the agency workers (this coming march ) and redeploy the full time employees to fill the positions that will be left. they didnt create jobs, they are saving 100 full timers and removing the hardworking agency workers that got them the contract. not a very nice thing to do (language would be worse, but, the post wouldn't get seen).
Newtownabbey in Newtownabbey wrote (268 days ago):
Peter hope this makes it clear ? the work is at this moment taking place in monkstown it is moving to larne week starting march 17.at the moment the bulk of the workers are temps and are being replaced week by week by fulltime workers who are sent up from the larne factory to be trained by the temp workers whos jobs they will get when trained up hope this makes it crystal?on the 14th march the production will stop and all the temps will be layed off and will have to wait for a call back for modt if us will never come .
minty@axles monkstown in far far away wrote (268 days ago):
No the Larne factory had nothing to do with it! we have made over 2000 axles in monks town from last year and we are moving to Larne in April! All the temps have been taking for a ride promised full time jobs if we got the contract now we are told we are getting payed off place is a joke!! # The theatre of lies!
Peter in wrote (269 days ago):
Still don't get it. The news is for Larne, is it not, but you are saying "the full timers from Larne"? Surely the workers are in Larne already? Confused? I am.
Axle worker monkstown in Newtownabbey wrote (269 days ago):
Peter the temps jobs will be filled by perm worker from larne and monkstown after they ate trained up
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