THERE is shock and devastation on the northside of the city following the news that French skincare firm Yves Rocher is to close its operation on Dublin Hill with the loss of 60 jobs.
A major employer in the area since 1981, Yves Rocher has announced that it is to cease operations at its Cork plant by the end of next year, transferring production to Rieux, Brittany.
The company recently restructured its operations in Cork, according to employee Christine O' Rahilly, from Dublin Hill, who has worked at the plant for 30 years.
“There was a restructuring last year and people adapted to it - the dedication and the commitment that the workers gave, hoping that the plant would survive,” Ms O’Rahilly told the Echo.
“People stayed as a personal decision and I just feel we’ve been let down after all of our hard work. The way I feel really is shock and devastation. We couldn’t believe the news, especially in the run-up to Christmas.
"It’s sad to walk away, heartbreaking. Most of us have been there over 30 years. We wouldn’t have our houses or our families with Yves Roches. We just feel hurt and let down.”
The majority of those who will lose their jobs are from the surrounding areas of Dublin Hill and have been working for the company for most of their lives, according to Ms O’Rahilly.
The news came as such a shock because the company has gone through much worse, she added.
“We’ve had ups and downs but we’ve always pulled through. When the worst of the recession hit, Yves Rocher was still hiring through.” “At one stage, there were 160 people there during the recession.” Production is due to cease on September 28 next year.
“I couldn’t see if there’s anything that could be done in the meantime,” Ms O'Rahilly said.
“Don’t get me wrong I’d love it if something changed. If another company came in if that was even possible.”
“Just to keep doing the lotto in the meantime.”
“It's been our lives for 30 years. To be fair, it's been a good company to work for but its the scariness of not knowing what's ahead.”
SIPTU Industrial official Paul Depuis, the union is to meet with the company in the coming days to discuss the implications of today's announcement for its members.
In a statement the company said: "Following an extensive review of its operations prompted by falling global volumes in recent years, Groupe Rocher Operations has taken the strategic decision to consolidate its manufacturing operations within its Brittany base and to close its manufacturing site in Cork, Ireland at the end of next year."
"The current production volumes will be transferred to one of the three existing Groupe Rocher manufacturing sites in Rieux, Brittany. Employee representatives in Cork and in France have been duly informed of this decision."
"Groupe Rocher would like to thank Cork employees for their dedication, commitment and performance in the face of numerous challenges in recent years."
Following the news, local councillor Ken O’Flynn has called on the Government and IDA Ireland to intensify their efforts to secure new jobs for the Northside.
“This is a major blow for the employees of the business and for our area and our thoughts are with all the team and their families at Yves Rocher. Only a year ago the company cut 50 jobs and in another blow to our area.”
“At the last major investment in the plant in 2010, Jacques Rocher, the then president of the Yves Rocher Foundation, said the Cork facility has been a key element of the Yves Rocher network since its establishment and it is the main producer for strategic Yves Rocher brands such as Riche Creme Pure Calmille, Arnica and Serum Vegetale.”
"I want to thank Groupe Rocher for their 37 years in Cork and their commitment to the North Side of Cork and to their employees. While it is very regrettable that they are closing the plant, we have to recognise that markets and demands for goods change."
"I am now calling on the Government and IDA Ireland to step up their efforts at securing a replacement industry for Yves Rocher and also to look at a special designation for the North Side as it is clear that our area has been left behind in the overall Government thinking on developing Cork.”