O’Neills has announced the closure of its factory and hundreds of workers have been temporarily laid off.
From 6pm this evening (Thursday), the factory will be closed and staff will be out of work until May amid coronavirus fears.
The Strabane-based sportswears giant is one of the biggest employers in the local area, with a staff of around 800 people.
A concerned worker at the factory said staff were told this afternoon that the factory would be closed for around six weeks.
She said, “We have just been told that after 6pm today the factory is shutting down until May and we are all being laid off. We will not be getting any money.
“It is awful. So many local people work in the factory and now we are out of work. Today will be our last wage for the foreseeable.”
In a statement confirming the closure, Kieran Kennedy, Managing Director of O’Neills said, “Due to the postponement and cancellation of sporting activities and the complete cessation of orders received from clubs and retailers across the business, the company has no alternative other than to take drastic measures to safeguard its long-term future.”
“It is with deep regret that it has become necessary for us to suspend operations effective from 6pm today(Thursday March 19).
“Unfortunately, this will result in all staff being subject to temporary layoff.
“It is not yet known for how long this will continue, however given the latest information to hand it is likely to be until Tuesday May 5 at the earliest.”
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