Staff at the Liebherr Container Crane factory in Fossa have been put on three-day weeks amid concerns that cutbacks at one of the south west’s biggest employers could have a knock-on effect on the economy of the region.

The reduced week is expected to be in place from Monday, September 3 until the end of the year. Employees learned of the news last week before their annual two-week break. The measure has been put in place to save jobs at the company; 27 people had already been let go and there were fears that a further 180 could be sacked.

The majority of staff will be affected by the move, including office and manufacturing staff. A small number of employees have been transferred to other Liebherr factories in Southampton and Germany.

A number of local businesses who do haulage and subcontracting work for Liebherr may also be affected by the cut-backs, and reduced wages for employees may adversely affect the local economy.

Dr Hans Liebherr opened his Killarney operation in 1958 and since then the company has been a reliable and valued source of employment for the people of Killarney and the surrounding parishes. Locals hope that the current set back is temporary and the global powerhouse can bounce back and prosper for many years to come.

The Liebherr family company owns three five-star hotels in the area and in the past decade alone some €100 million has been put into major upgrading of the Hotel Europe and the Dunloe Castle.

It has also invested heavily in equipment, technology automation, training and facilities at the crane factory. Cranes from the Killarney plant go all over the world via the port of Fenit.

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