200 workers are to lose their jobs at the US-owned Baxter Healthcare plant in Castlebar, Co Mayo, while another 50 jobs are to go at the Bulmers facility in Clonmel, Co Tipperary.

Baxter says the job cuts have been forced on it by 'the global economic downturn and by cutbacks in healthcare spending across Europe'. The plant has a total workforce of more than 1,000.

Baxter, one of the world's leading healthcare companies, has been in Castlebar since 1972. The plant specialises in the manufacture of sterile solutions and drugs for use in kidney dialysis treatment. It is Mayo's largest industrial employer.

This afternoon workers were told that the company was seeking 150 voluntary redundancies and that 50 temporary contract staff would not be replaced.

General manager Pat Gallagher said the cutbacks were necessary because of the global economic downturn, the impact of cost savings being made on healthcare across Europe and a continuing need to improve cost competitiveness.

He said the decision was a difficult one but was necessary to secure the long-term viability of the plant. The reduction in the workforce is to take place over the next 12 months.

Bulmers cuts to lead to 50 job losses

Cider maker Bulmers has announced plans to make up to 50 people redundant by the end of the year at its manufacturing facility in Clonmel, Co Tipperary.

A statement said the move was part of a cost-cutting and re-organisation programme aimed at protecting the remaining 220 jobs at the plant.

The company, which is owned by drinks group C&C, said management would start talks with unions immediately, and that the lay-offs would be voluntary 'where possible'.

Bulmers general manager Paul O'Sullivan said weaker consumer sentiment and a shift in cider sales from pubs to off-licences had affected its business in Ireland.

'It is therefore an imperative that we reduce our fixed cost base in Clonmel, thereby ensuring that our products are produced at the lowest cost, whilst maintaining both quality and excellent customer service,' he said.