Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government Darragh O’Brien has called on the owners of SK Bioteck in Swords to actively engage with over 140 workers who have been laid off at the north Dublin pharmaceutical plant.

Deputy O’Brien has raised the matter with the Taoiseach in the Dáil today and has also written to the company twice calling on the owners to enter talks with workers without-precondition.

Over 140 shift workers at the plant have now been placed on protective notice from today with workers picketing the plant.

Deputy O’Brien said: “I am extremely concerned for the workers who have been laid off this morning, it’s a very big concern for the workers and their families in the run up to Christmas. I am supporting the workers in their calls to sit down with management in a bid to have this decision reversed.

“I firmly believe the company should agree to enter talks without pre-condition with workers to resolve this issue and prevent it from escalating. The current Irish Employment Labour Court Recommendations are not and cannot be legally binding.

SK Biotek bought the plant from Bristol-Meyers Squibb and signed an agreement protecting staff terms and conditions of employment.

“The only way that the current situation can be dealt with is for all parties to sit down and discuss an agreed way forward to resolving this dispute. Discussions must happen without precondition and that is what the staff are seeking,” concluded Deputy O’Brien.