Merck Sharp and Dohme is seeking 60 voluntary redundancies from among its 400 employees in Ballydine, Tipperary.

Merck, which has been operating in the area since 1976, blames high production costs for the lay-offs.

The company says it will be entering into discussions with employees and unions so that these changes can be implemented as soon as possible.

The company says that it plans to position the Irish operation to compete for new products and to maintain its position as a key site for the production of pharmaceuticals.