Enterprise Minister holds meeting with Wyeth staff amid jobs uncertainty

The Wyeth plant in Askeaton. Photo: Sean Ryan/Google.

ALMOST two months after the announcement of the planned closure of a Limerick baby formula manufacturing plant, Enterprise Minister Simon Coveney last week held a meeting with worker and union representatives.

Nestlé owned Wyeth Nutrition announced in October that it would close their factory in Askeaton by 2026, with almost 500 jobs at risk.

The company said at the time that the closure of the Askeaton plant would see their operations move to Suzhou, Mainland China and Konolfingen, Switzerland.

Now it has emerged that the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney held a meeting with worker and union representatives at the plant last Friday (December 1).

In a statement, a spokesman for the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment confirmed that the meeting took place between unions, workers representatives and Limerick Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan.

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The spokesman said that the meeting was an “good and extremely helpful meeting with the group of unions and workers reps from Wyeth”.

“They will continue to liaise closely in the time ahead,” the spokesman also said.

It is not clear whether the Enterprise Minister will take any action following the meeting to attempt to secure the jobs of the almost 500 staff who work there.

The shutdown of the plant in Askeaton is thought to be related to a slump in baby formula sales in China and Asia, export market for Wyeth.

A research and development centre that located on the Wyeth site is also scheduled to close in the first quarter or 2025.

The research and development (R&D) centre opened in 2019 at a cost of over €27million.

The R&D centre alone employs over 40 staff, whose jobs are also at risk from the planned closure.