Guinness to slash its Dublin workforce

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

DUBLIN - Guinness may shed more than a third of its 1,400 workforce in Dublin over the next six years by lowering the qualifying age for voluntary redundancy to include those aged 50, writes Alan Murdoch.

Cost-saving proposals, to be voted on by members of the largest union at the brewery, could lead to 400 staff leaving by 2000, given the age balance of the workforce.

The cost-containment package would alter working patterns to end restrictive practices, reduce overtime by introducing an annualised hours system and encourage more outside contracting, a company spokeswoman said.

With 40 per cent of Dublin's output exported, the management hopes to make the brewery more competitive with its rivals and other Guinness production centres. The group has just finished modernising the brewery at a cost of Irpounds 180m (pounds 176m).

The Dublin workforce has a relatively high average age, higher wage costs because of superannuation and relatively low productivity per employee by industry standards, according to company sources.

The brewery, which employs 800 with a further 600 in sales and administration, has already made cuts in the workforce since the mid-Eighties when employee numbers stood at more than 1,800.