Discussions are in progress between Irish Cement and its trade unions at Platin and Castlemungret in Limerick over a proposed restructuring by the company.
Yesterday (Tuesday) the company declined to comment on reports that between 40-50 per cent of its workforce in the two plants would be let go. Over 200 people are employed at the Platin factory, just outside Duleek.
The company has confirmed that it met with the group of unions representing workers at Platin and Limerick on 15th April and there has been contact between the two sides since then. A spokesman said: "The company advised the unions that the continuing deterioration in market conditions and a sustained decline in the demand for cement products have led to the need for a restructuring plan to be introduced at all of its locations."
He said the precise details of the plan would be subject to further dialogue with both unions and employees. The company said it was intended to have restructuring changes implemented by later this year.
The aim is to have negotiations completed by the end of summer.
In 2009, the company told unions that the fall in demand for its products, because of the decline in the construction industry, would lead to the shutting down of one of its kilns at Platin so as to allow an excess of clinker, one of the main compounds in cement, to be sold.
The company has recorded declines in demand for its products from the first six months of 2009 when it said the demand for that period was about half of that of 2008 and no improvement was projected in the latter half of last year.