Management at the Schering-Plough pharmaceutical plant at Brinny in West Cork have said they will be cutting the workforce there by 160 over the next three years.

In a meeting with staff today, the management of the company said that where possible it will try to achieve the job cuts through voluntary redundancies.

Schering-Plough site director John Howell also said that a transformation programme at the company presented everybody at the West Cork plant with an opportunity to secure further investment at the site in the future.

Mr Howell said the cost reduction programme was designed to secure the future of the plant within the Merck global network.

Last year Schering-Plough merged with the multi-national pharmaceutical company Merck in a deal valued at the time at $41 billion. Schering-Plough currently employs just over 500 people in West Cork.