Ryobi, the aluminium casting maker has temporarily pulled down its Carrickfergus operation and send all of its 560 staffs on temporary lay-off until 3rd April’20.
This news was communicated to the employees by a senior person of the company at its Northern Ireland headquarters on 23rd March’20.
The company was founded in Japan more than 70 years ago and it is considered as the global leader in aluminium die-casting.
It makes it the largest manufacturer in the north hit by the coronavirus pandemic, and comes as the entire European automobile industry has effectively shut down until mid-April.
The Unite union, which represents many of the Ryobi workers, confirmed it had spoken to management.
It said it was looking at details of the terms and conditions being offered to the workers under the furlough arrangements, adding that it would state due course.
Ryobi delivers a wide range of aluminium engine, transmission and structural car components for car manufacturers throughout Europe, with a customer list reading like a who's who of the motor world, including Jaguar Land Rover, Volkswagen, Peugeot Citroen and Ford.
The annual wage bill of Ryobi stands at £18 million, it is a huge asset to the wider Northern Ireland economy, and since 2012 it has invested more than £50m in its plant in Carrickfergus, from where it has operated since 1990.
Motor Dealerships Company The Charles Hurst Group and The Agnew Group said: “they were temporarily closing all of their trading locations with immediate effect as part of the national effort to reduce further spread of coronavirus.”