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Apple to close Cork, Ireland plant?

Irish Times report claims 1400 staff could be victims of restructure

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Around 1,400 workers are facing redundancy at Apple's Cork assembly plant, according to a report in the Irish Times. The paper cites "industry sources" who claim the jobs are at risk through a restructure of the company's operations. The sources suggest Apple is considering consolidating its worldwide manufacturing operation to just a couple of large plants. That would leave the Cork plant, for many years the company's European production site, facing closure. There is a precedent for such a move: back in July 1998, after a review of operations mounted the previous March, Apple moved PCB production to the Far East, resulting in the loss of 150 full-time and 400 part-time jobs at Cork. However, concerns that this might ultimately lead to further, more major job cuts were eased when Apple announced the plant would manufacture European iMacs. With Apple never more keen to reduce inventory and streamline manufacture, and with the Internet-based AppleStore's build-to-order facility quite capable of being handled by the company's local resellers, rumours of the plant's death may not be exaggerated. However, an Apple spokesman, quoted in the Irish Times report, said there was no question of the company ending its manufacturing operations in Ireland. At the same time, he refused to comment on whether a restructure had been initiated or what the effect of such a restructure might be. ®

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