Current Affairs

The Heavy Hand…

This makes me really angry. Yes, Dell (and other US computer firms) have created a lot of jobs in Ireland in the last twenty years. But they have done so because it was advantageous to them – the Irish government offered foreign business a very attrctive low rate of corporation tax.

Now that the economy has taken a nose-dive, some of these US businesses are having second thoughts. That’s fine, it’s their right – it’s a free market economy. However, when they start to impose heavy-handed tactics on their European employees, like they might try elsewhere (i.e. the US), I get annoyed:

Employees inside Dell’s giant manufacturing plant in Limerick were not even allowed to listen to reports on local radio stations as rumours flew of an impending announcement of 2,000 job losses.

Normally, the company’s workers can listen to the local radio station, Limerick’s Live 95FM, which is broadcast throughout the factory in Raheen Industrial Estate.

However, the station was turned off yesterday morning as the cuts were discussed for over an hour on the ‘Limerick Today’ show with Ed Myers.

Fearful of possible repercussions from within the company, no workers were keen to go on the record.

“We don’t have a union here, so there is nobody to speak for us. But management are afraid to speak also,” the worker said.

In some cases, husbands and wives who met through their work in Dell are expecting to be made redundant.

The government also needs to realise that if your job creation strategy relies on foreign businesses, one day those businesses are going to pack up and leave. As for the Dell employees in Limerick – why don’t you have a union?

Having once worked for a US-headquartered business that was incredibly insensitive to regional differences – a real one-size-fits-all mentality – I’ll be honest and say I’ll probably never work for another US firm again.

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