Intel is trying to save on labor costs at its Leixlip plant by offering manufacturing workers three months of unpaid leave.
The company declined to say exactly how many of its 5,000 employees in Kildare would be affected.
However, it comes just weeks after the giant semiconductor company announced it must make significant global cuts to remain competitive.
Intel is positioning unpaid leave as a way to stave off more drastic layoffs.
“Voluntary time off programs give us the opportunity to reduce short-term costs and offer employees attractive time off options,” the company said in a statement last night.
“Retaining our manufacturing talent is a key element in positioning Intel for long-term growth. Manufacturing talent is an important element of our business here in Ireland.”
Fianna Fáil TD Kildare North TD, James Lawless, told Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio 1: “This was not entirely unexpected as there has been tremors over the last probably six to eight weeks.”
Deputy Lawless said there had been signs of unrest “across the world two months ago” and “intensification”.
This is, he added, “not a vote of confidence” in the Leixlip factory.
“It’s an impetus from a global response,” he said.
Intel employs 5,000 people in Leixlip, many of whom work in chip manufacturing.
Last year the company said it would create 1,600 new jobs with a further €12 billion investment in its newest manufacturing facility in Kildare. It said the intention was to increase total employment in Ireland to 6,500, with the company’s chief global operations officer telling the Irish Independent that Intel will remain in Ireland for “decades to come”.
However, the company is struggling to keep up with its peers, with arch-competitor AMD recently overtaking Intel in market cap.
Intel also continues to suffer from missing out on the smartphone and tablet market, which make up a large part of the computer chip industry.
In the latest quarterly results, annual sales fell 20 percent while profit fell over 80 percent.
As a result, the company said it would target $3 billion in savings over the next year and $10 billion by 2025.
Deputy Lawless added: “Travel direction remains positive in my opinion as we received a €12 billion commitment for the plant in March.”
“1,600 new jobs were created there.
“There was tremendous commitment and investment.
“The other point I want to make is that for geopolitical reasons there will be more focus, not less on EU manufacturing and Irish manufacturing.
“And I spoke to Minister Dara Calleary last night. He was indeed at the Brussels Competitiveness Summit and the EU is currently considering the so-called chips law.
“And effectively it’s about encouraging and increasing microchip manufacturing within the EU and in our case within Ireland, as opposed to countries like China…
“It is for geopolitical reasons. Therefore, I actually think that the long-term prognosis remains very good in the short-term.”
This information is of little “consolation” at Christmas, “short term” for affected employees, Deputy Lawless added.
“I worked in the tech sector myself during the dot-com crash of the early noughties, I was actually in the workforce at the time,” he said.
“I just graduated and went through that myself at a tech company.”
Deputy Lawless said in his case there was “an initial voluntary system, followed by a mandatory system.”
https://www.independent.ie/business/its-a-knock-on-from-a-global-reaction-intel-seeks-to-cut-costs-with-unpaid-leave-for-leixlip-staff-42189653.html “It’s a result of a global response” – Intel is trying to cut costs by providing unpaid leave for Leixlip employees in Kildare