The jobs of more than 130 people are under threat at a manufacturing plant operated by pharmaceutical company Pfizer in Co Cork.
Pfizer has said it plans to withdraw from the plant at Little Island over the next 18 months. However, the company is hoping that some of the jobs will be saved if the plant can be sold.
The 136 workers at the plant were called to a meeting with management this morning. Twelve months ago the company announced it was shedding almost 50 jobs there.
Today the workers were told that these cuts were not sufficient to offset the drop in demand caused by the expiration of patents on some of Pfizer's most popular and effective medicines.
The company said it will withdraw from the Little Island plant by the end of 2014, and will instead consolidate production at its other manufacturing plant in Cork, 20km away at Ringaskiddy.
In the meantime, Pfizer will work to find a buyer for the award-winning Little Island plant, as it has done twice before in this country and more than a dozen times globally.
Pfizer employs about 3,200 people at six sites in Ireland across manufacturing, shared services, treasury and commercial operations
The company said the decision on the Little Island plant was not a reflection of its performance, but is driven by the changing business environment.
''Little Island has an excellent reputation and has won many awards in the areas of quality, safety, operational excellence and innovation,'' said Seamus Fives, Pfizer's site leader at Little Island and Ringaskiddy.
''The manufacturing operating environment has become much more challenging and greater competitiveness is needed so that we can continue to play a strong role in the manufacture of Pfizer’s new and off-patent medicines,'' he added.