Manufacturing staff at Intel in Kildare have been told to consider taking unpaid leave as the chip-making company seeks to cut back dramatically on costs.
About 4,500 of its Irish workforce are based at its Leixlip plant in Co Kildare, although it remains unclear how many will be required to take the temporary work breaks which are likely to extend to three months.
The move follows a slowdown in demand for the chip giant’s products. PC sales tumbled 15 per cent in the third quarter of this year, with HP, Dell and Lenovo, all of which use Intel’s processors, suffering steep declines.
In a statement on Thursday, Intel said the push for voluntary time off programmes would enable it to reduce short term costs and “offer employees attractive time off options”.
“During our recent earnings call, we announced significant steps to reduce costs and improve efficiencies, while mindfully protecting the investments needed to accelerate our transformation and position us for long-term growth,” the company said.
“Retaining our manufacturing talent is a key element of positioning Intel for long-term growth.”
Fears about jobs at Intel’s Irish business have been building since late October when the chip giant said it needed to cut costs amid a persistent slump in computer demand that has dragged down its sales.
The State also narrowly missed out in the spring on becoming home to two new large semiconductor factory sites to Magdeburg, Germany.