HP to cut up to 500 jobs in Leixlip

The company will close its global print business in County Kildare with close to 500 employees set to be "impacted" by the move

HP Inc. has announced that it will close its global print business at the Leixlip plant in County Kildare with the loss of 500 jobs.

The plant has been manufacturing inkjet cartridges, and carrying out research and development for the giant multi-national.

In a statement this morning, the company said it is likely that 500 employees will be impacted by the closure and will “leave the business” over the next 12 months.

It said the announcement is in line with the company’s strategy to “drive continuous efficiencies and cost savings that enable investment in new market opportunities and growth initiatives, such as 3D printing.”

Management said the decision is “not a reflection on our Ireland employees or on the site’s performance.”

“We are very aware of the impact this decision will have on our employees in Ireland and we are focusing all of our efforts on supporting them, on identifying opportunities for them and on providing a programme to help them prepare for the transition ahead,” the statement reads.

“Ireland has been an important location for HP and remains an excellent environment for technology companies."

The company said Ireland will remain a key market for HP, “where we will maintain the sales operations for our Printing and Personal Systems business.”

Support for workers

Responding to the announcement, the Taoiseach said the Government's concerns and priorities are with the staff and their families - adding that it is unfortunate they heard the news on the national airwaves.

Enda Kenny confirmed to the Dáil that Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor did not travel to California with IDA Ireland for discussions with the company on the future of the plant.

He said Minister O'Connor spoke to 'senior managers' on the phone last week and insisted the plant is a "fabulous building" in a "brilliant location."

He said the IDA and the minister will now look to market the plant as a "going concern" that can provide alternative employment in the area.

Minister O’Connor said the IDA will begin marketing the plant as a profitable business opportunity from this evening:

“The IDA have been working very much on this project,” she said. “We have done our very best and the IDA have done their very best to try and make the company change their minds on this restructuring.”

“The company have just decided to consolidate that they are going to consolidate their business in the other parts of the world where they have a presence.”

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, 08-02-2017. Image: Páraic Gallagher / Newstalk

The Housing Minister, Simon Coveney said the announcement was “really bad news” adding that it is now important to ensure the effected workers are fully supported.

“We need to make sure that all the support systems and arms of the state and agencies of the state are there now to support and help,” he said.

Ahead of the announcement, local Fianna Fáil TD Frank O'Rourke said the news will come as a surprise to many staff.

"It absolutely is devastating," he said. "It is disturbing, it is very worrying and it is disappointing," he said.

"We will have to wait and see the detail of the announcement to see how we can support the staff [...] and then look to get people re-employed and retrained."

Multi-agency taskforce

Deputy O'Rourke called on the Government to put in place a multi-agency taskforce to assist workers in finding alternative employment as quickly as possible.

“Many of the workers affected by these job losses are highly skilled and need to be assisted in finding employment in expanding companies," he said.

"If workers feel that they need to upskill then they should be given the opportunity to do so.

“These job losses are a major blow to Kildare, but the damage can be limited if the Government is pro-active.”

HP Inc. was formed 2015 when Hewlett Packard split into two different companies.

HP Inc. has concentrated on the traditional printer and PC business while Hewlett-Packard Enterprise has focused on industrial servers, software and services.

The printing and PC side of the business has faced difficulties since the split - including a continued fall in PC sales and a general move away from printing documents.

The company announced in October last year that it would cut 3,000 to 4,000 jobs globally over the next three years.