Close to 20 jobs to go at Robert Roberts due to restructuring

By Mary Dennehy

CLOSE to 20 jobs are being lost at the Robert Roberts plant in Tallaght due to ‘restructuring’ by Valeo Foods Ireland – which is ceasing its tea operations at the local site.

In January, employees at the Broomhill Road-facility were told that Valeo was restructuring its operations, a move which is to include “enhanced” coffee operations at the site but the “cessation” of its tea operations.

Robert Roberts 01

The Robert Roberts plant based on Broomhill Road

The Echo understands that the coffee operations and Valeo’s wine and spirit brand Findlater will remain in Tallaght – and see the continued employment of more than 80 people at the Broomhill facility.

However, according to Valeo, up to 17 roles will be impacted on by the restructuring decision.

In a statement to The Echo, Valeo Foods Ireland, which owns brands such as Batchelors, Odlums, Kelkin, Jacobs, Chef, Fruitfield and Erin, said: “In January we informed employees at our Broomhill facility that we have decided to restructure operations at the site.

“This follows a strategic review of our tea and coffee operations in response to an increasingly competitive market and rapidly changing consumer trends.

“This restructuring will lead to enhanced coffee operations at the site and regrettably the cessation of tea operations in Broomhill.

“The changes will have no impact on our Robert Roberts brand which will now source its tea from a partner producer.”

The statement added: “Up to 17 roles will be impacted by this restructuring decision and we are currently in discussions regarding the redundancy terms.”

Labour Court

The Echo understands that staff were not expecting news of compulsory redundancies, with issues around redundancy payments going forward to the Labour Court.

SIPTU organiser Colin Casserley is representing workers affected by redundancy at the site.

Mr Casserley told The Echo: “Talks broke down in relation to the redundancy payments, and the level of what [Valeo Foods] is offering.

“It is now going forward to the Labour Court and we are still awaiting a date.”

The Echo understands that many of the workers facing redundancy have 20 years plus service, with staff left shocked and angry over the announcement.

The staff affected by redundancy are due to cease their employment by the end of April.

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