Search Results for: "jobs"

Warning that hike in business rates will cost jobs

April 16, 2015 12:02 pm
Declan McCabe of McCabe’s Supervalu, Newtownbutler is unhappy with the increase in his rates bill. RMGFH88

Declan McCabe of McCabe’s Supervalu, Newtownbutler is unhappy with the increase in his rates bill. RMGFH88

By Ryan Smith
LOCAL business owners are continuing to come to terms with a hike in rates that has seen bills for businesses here rising by thousands.

Land and Property Services has re-valued non-domestic properties across the North meaning that ‘new values’ were used to calculate rates bills from April 1.

This means that ratepayers will be paying based on their 2013 rental value – as opposed to the last evaluation which was back in 2001.

And while some parts of the county have benefited – including in Enniskillen town centre – others have suffered heavily from the re-evaluation.

Declan McCabe of McCabe’s Supervalu in Newtownbutler said his business is facing an increase of over 50%.

“Like any man in business if he gets a 50 or 60% increase in any overhead he has to look at it and see where can we save this money going forward,” he said.

“I don’t think they’re thinking at all. We will have to look at our wage hours. There’s no way I can increase a 50% increase on our second biggest overhead.”

Asked how he will absorb the rates hike, Mr McCabe said: “The only way to stay profitable is to look at cutting your wage hours. We’re going to have to sit down and look at where we can save on this. I’ve been talking to other shopkeepers here and they’re looking at similar. They can’t see the logic or the sense in it at all.”

Similarly, in Enniskillen, Scott Robinson of Craigville Garden Centre and Coffee Shop is also facing a 50% rise.

“We’re just on the edge of town: We don’t even get Christmas lights or our own bins emptied,” he said, “It doesn’t make sense. This town is empty enough without hurting small businesses.

“My ground hasn’t changed – we’re open ground. It’s not as if we’ve build a two storey house on it.”

Like Supervalu in Newtownbutler, Mr Robinson said that the impact will be on staff.

“Any chance we had of taking on extra members of staff this year are gone. Really there’s times in our business where when the weather is good you could do with 50 staff. But we’re just going to have to cope again.”

Eight jobs to go at Devenish College

March 4, 2015 1:36 pm
Devenish College

Devenish College

EIGHT TEACHING jobs are to be lost at Devenish College in Enniskillen, the Fermanagh Herald can reveal.

The school, which was part of a merger with Lisnaskea High School in 2013, has been forced to make cuts following what is known as the ‘collective agreement’ or the school’s ‘reorganisation agreement’.

The chairman of the board of governors of Devenish College, Alex Baird, revealed to the Fermanagh Herald today (Wednesday), that the cost-cutting measures meant the loss of ‘essentially eight individuals’ on the teaching staff.

He said: “Following the merger of Lisnaskea High School and Devenish College, what was called the collective agreement, the school’s reorganisation agreement, was brought into force – which is the norm after any merger of schools.

“That protects all teachers jobs for two years, but then there is a requirement to rationalise and look at costs and live within budget.

“And unfortunately as a result of that, we have to reduce our teaching compliment from 40.2 full time equivalent down to 32. So it’s an eight point two reduction in jobs. It’s 8.2 jobs.”

Mr Baird said that the board will be working to ensure that compulsory redundancies are kept to a minimum.

“We will do everything in our power to ensure either voluntary or transferred redundancies are achieved. We don’t want to see anyone go through a compulsory redundancy.

“There’s the transferred redundancy situation where other schools have people retiring and they notify the board – and people who are being made redundant can apply for a transferred redundancy.”

The Fermanagh Herald has contacted the Western Education and Library Board for a response.

Fracking would bring only 10 jobs to Fermanagh, expert tells conference

February 26, 2015 9:00 pm
Fracking Meeting - Lough Erne Resort

Martin O’Donnell and Michelle Gildernew MP

THE MESSAGE FROM the anti-fracking conference last Friday was clear – fracking will be blocked, should attempts be made to introduce it in Fermanagh.

Organised by Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson, the event was held on Friday in the Lough Erne Resort,  and was chaired by Sinn Fein  MP Michelle Gildernew.

Speakers on the day included, Gary McFarlane, director of the  Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, Dr Brenna O’Roarty a member of Fermanagh Fracking Awareness Network, Professor Tony Ingraffea from Cornell University and keynote speaker Andy Gheorghiu, the author of the Friends of the Earth Fracking Frenzy report.

Speaking at the conference, Martina Anderson gave her ‘absolute guarantee’ Sinn Fein will block fracking here. To rapturous applause she stated the party would use its voting strength in the executive to block it and not change Fermanagh from  “forty shades of green to fifty shades of grey”.

In her address Dr Brenna O’Roarty, a member of Fermanagh Fracking Awareness Network and economic analyst, poured cold water on claims fracking would bring economic benefits to the county.

In her report weighing up the economic benefits she claimed fracking would not bring 600 jobs rather “a maximum of maybe 10 jobs long-term” and said initial figures the process could bring £6.7billion were ‘really shaky’.

She highlighted the impact on roads and claimed that due to increased traffic, it reduces life-cycle of roads by 75%.

She also stressed her concern the process would have on Fermanagh’s two key industries; agriculture and tourism.

Speaking after the conference Michelle Gildernew was delighted with the success of the conference.

“We had a range of different experts in the fields of the environment, economics, tourism, agriculture, health and hydrology, many of whom were Fermanagh natives.

“Ms Gildernew continued: “Fracking is not the answer to the needs of Fermanagh, or anywhere in Ireland for that matter. A basic human right is the right to clean water, clear air and a clean environment to raise our children in.”

She added: “The outcome of the discussions today has strengthened our opposition to any form of fracking and we will continue to work with the community to ensure their opposition to fracking is listened to. If we are all active together, we can change anything.”

More jobs on the line as minister weighs up courthouse closure

February 4, 2015 11:00 am

Enniskillen Court House

By Gareth McKeown

AS PART of public spending cuts Enniskillen Courthouse along with seven other courthouses in the North could face the chop.

It is thought that up to 20 people’s jobs could be affected.

Justice Minister David Ford has proposed the closures as a way to save money in his department’s budget, cut by £75m.

If agreed it would mean local solicitors, their clients and members of the public being forced to travel to Dungannon or Omagh.

With the NI Courts and Tribunals Service facing a cut of almost 11% , or £2.3 million, Mr Ford is proposing to close the eight courthouses in a move he claims would save almost £1.5m a year, £300,000 of which would be saved by the Prison Service on reduced transport costs for taking prisoners to court.

Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Tom Elliott has expressed his concern at the prospect of the Courthouse in Enniskillen closing.

“There seems to be a general trend in of the loss of public service jobs in Fermanagh. I would question the Justice Minister’s thinking behind this, as this further planned loss of jobs will severely affect the local economy and the obvious fact of more Civil Servants in Fermanagh are going to be without jobs.”

He continued:

“There used to be a number of courthouses in County Fermanagh, and now the plan is to close the Enniskillen Courthouse, the only one left in the county. I will be questioning the Justice Minister on his decision, and will be working hard to try and ensure as many public service jobs as kept, as a direct result of this planned closure.”

Local Sinn Fein MLA Sean Lynch said he was “simply stunned” by Mr Ford’s proposal.

“With the closure of the courthouse in Enniskillen many people will be forced to travel many miles in order to deal with issues addressed through the courts.

“Courts deal with many issues apart from the criminal justice system so this closure will have a huge impact upon those who have to attend a court.

“The Minister has always claimed that the core aim of his Department is a faster, fairer justice system, which is reflected in the Bill coming to the Assembly later this year yet the closure of Enniskillen Courthouse will only result in backlogs in the justice system; loss in confidence in the justice system; and a decrease in access to justice.”

He added: “It may save the department £92,439 per year but the safety of our community is priceless and it depends on an effective justice system. Not to mention the loss of jobs that will come as a result of this closure, as we see yet another vital service leave Fermanagh.

 

‘We’re here to stay’: new owners of glass plant allay fears for jobs

January 30, 2015 5:00 pm
Gorka Schmitt and Adrian Curry at the glass factory.

Gorka Schmitt and Adrian Curry at the glass factory.

THE top boss of a Spanish company which has bought over the former Quinn Glass has pledged to invest over £200m in the Derrylin and Cheshire plants – sending out a strong signal that it’s here to stay.

In a bid to allay employees’ fears, the CEO of Vidrala met with union and community representatives in Derrylin last week to outline the company’s long-term plans.

It follows growing concerns from staff and the local community who feared the sale would mean closure of the glass factory.

This was dismissed by the CEO Gorka Schmitt who said his company would not invest €408.6m ‘for nothing’.

“It’s our biggest acquisition to date and we have been in the business for 50 years,” he told the Fermanagh Herald.

“You don’t invest €408m into a business and not want to see it in the long-term future so it’s seems a little strange that we would be here only for the short-term.

“You won’t buy something if you don’t think it will have a great future. The glass company has a very young plant and organisation and paired with the experience of Vidrala means it will be a better future for both.

“In the next five years we will have to invest another €200m in this project because the furnaces have to be rebuilt.”

When asked if the attacks against the former Quinn Group property concerned him, Mr Schmitt said: “For sure it concerns us a lot, but we have told the community that we think people in Vidrala and Derrylin have a safer future being together in this project and we know we have to have to let some time pass so they can see that the things Vidrala are saying are facts.

“We need to invest and rebuild the furnaces and staff will see they have better opportunities in a bigger group and that their jobs are safer. We will always be competitive because we need the clients in order to guarantee the current jobs and those to come.

“Yes, we know that in the past foreign buyers are not well seen but we hope with time, communication, facts and hard work that we show people that the project with Vidrala is the best employer for people in this community.

“We always said from the beginning that we are able to exit (the deal) if it was some local offer, but that was not possible.”

Adrian Curry, managing director of the former Quinn Glass, dismissed rumours that the new company would close the plant branding them as “nonsense”.

He said the factory has a ‘bright future’ with the new owners and that changes would always spark questions from staff.

He added: “There was a lot of information put out on social media that caused a lot consternation among staff but we met them and explained the situation with them and that Vidrala were the preferred bidder. I think the staff got themselves comfortable with the realisation there were going to be changes.

“I think Gorka said as well that he had discussions with QBRC (consortium group), to me it was a very open process, we ended up with five firm funded offers on the table. Any one of those five could have bought the business and my understanding was that none of those were a QBRC offer.”

Seven jobs lost with closure of Enniskillen depot

January 29, 2015 9:00 am
Crossgar Pallas Foods

REDUNDANT.. Tom Meehan standing outside the Enniskillen warehouse rented by Crossgar Pallas Foods that is due to close its Enniskillen operation.

A FOOD depot based in Carran Industrial Estate, Enniskillen is to shut down this Saturday, 31st January

The closure of Crossgar Pallas Foods affects seven drivers, all of whom are from Fermanagh.

A company statement confirmed the closure, and it stated that five drivers have opted to transfer to other depots within the firm and two would be taking redundancy packages.

It gave the reason for closure as part of an efficiency exercise, with a perceived impact on the Enniskillen delivery operations.

Tom Meehan, one of the drivers affected, contacted the Herald. He said all seven had been offered alternative jobs at the company’s two other depots, at Seaforde, County Down and Sligo.

“One of us may be going to one of the other depots, but I would say four or five won’t be getting any work out of it.”

Mr Meehan, who is from  Derrylin, was still nonplussed at the closure.

“Last September, they announced they were to spend £250,000 on new vehicles and now, a couple of months later, it’s closing.”

He added that he and his fellow drivers at Enniskillen covered, ‘a right bit of the north’, taking in Fermanagh, Tyrone and Derry.

“It seems somebody wasn’t happy with how the depot was performing, that it wasn’t cost effective.
Crossgar Pallas Foods takes its name from the merger, in June 2012, of Crossgar Food Service and Pallas Foods.

The £250,000 ‘spend’ at Enniskillen marked the completion of the rebrand.

At the time, Michael Morrissey, the director of foodservice with Crossgar Pallas stated that, as a result of the rebrand, the company’s range had increased to over 10,000 lines, supporting over 6,000 direct and indirect jobs in the North.

He added: “The £250,000 follows a significant investment in an advanced computer system in 2013 which has simplified the ordering process, giving customers direct access to over 10,000 individual products.’

But, Mr Meehan said he still could not understand the reason for closure.

“We were told two weeks ago it was closing due to centralisation, they said Enniskillen wasn’t making any money for them, yet the lorries are going out of the depot full to the neck.

“They said they’re trying to save money, that they’re cutting down on waste and that the Enniskillen depot is too costly to keep running.”

The company, in a statement released yesterday, Tuesday, said that in February, 2014, it was announced that aspects of the Crossgar business was being consolidated with that of its parent company, Pallas Foods.

The statement went on: “This was carried out in order to ensure that the business was as productive and as efficient as possible to compete effectively.

“As a result, the two businesses were merged and now operate under the ‘Crossgar Pallas’ brand.  A progression of those measures was recently announced.

“As part of this progression, it was necessary to review the operations and resources in transport to ensure it is efficient. This involved a risk that redundancies may be necessary in the delivery operations at Enniskillen.

“Following consultation with the team, it was decided to close the Enniskillen depot as of 31st January.  All seven employees were offered redeployment within either the businesses’ Seaforde or Sligo depots.

“Five of the seven chose to transfer within the business while two chose to take a redundancy package from the business.”

65 jobs created after Erneside Next extension gets green light

January 26, 2015 11:12 am

ERNESIDE-NEXT-EXTENSION

 

SHOPPERS in Enniskillen and Fermanagh are set to benefit from an extension of the Next retail unit, which is to undergo a complete revamp over the next nine months. 

65 jobs are to be created in the two-storey, new Next store. It will combine the popular homewares with clothing and accessories for women, plus a full range of men’s and children’s wear.

Work is to commence on the expansion of one of Erneside Shopping Centre’s most popular retail units late January.

Brian McAtamney, Centre Manager, Erneside Shopping Centre, said that the store would continue trading as normal during the works, and added: “In response to customer demand, we are almost doubling the size of the existing store, which has proved a very popular tenant in the shopping centre.”

More in this week’s Fermanagh Herald.

‘No jobs losses, in so far as possible’ says new council

November 21, 2014 8:30 am
The Enniskillen Townhall gkfh18

No job losses according to council Chief Executive

AS far both councils are concerned, there will be no job losses when Fermanagh and Omagh councils amalgamate in April next year.

It will be a ‘significant’ employer, according to Brendan Hegarty, its chief executive.

The two existing ‘townhalls’ will continue to operate, with 356 staff based in Enniskillen and 383 in Omagh, along with some 33-43 planners.

Planning decisions on local issues is one of the extra functions of the new Fermanagh and Omagh council.

Mr Hegarty sat alongside Thomas O’Reilly, the presiding councillor and Margaret McMahon, one of the two ‘change’ managers, at a public consultation meeting in Lisnaskea last week.

He told the meeting that all staff would be kept in post: “In so far as possible, all jobs will be accommodated, although, where senior managers are concerned, there may be some retionalisation.”

The council’s other new responsibilities include urban regeneration and community development, local economic development and local tourism, rural development (in part), and off-street parking.

Mr Hegarty explained that from 1st April next year, the new council will be taking on the duties of the existing councils, from recreation and sport to ownership of St Angelo Airport.

He said waste management, reducing the amount going straight into landfill, would continue to be the new council’s biggest expenditure.

“For every tonne of waste that goes into landfill, we are charged £82.50, and if we don’t meet those targets, we face fines in the region of £250 a tonne.”

He then revealed that ratepayers living in Lisnaskea, Irvinestown and Enniskillen would shortly be getting brown bins to put their food and green (eg grass cuttings) waste into.

He then focused on the new rates bills.

He explained that the new (district) rate for the new council would not be known till January or February next year.

“We are not in position to predict what the rate will be. All we can do is go back to the rates convergence model for Fermanagh/Omagh. It predicted that, at that time, an increase for Fermanagh ratepayers of 7.4 per cent (domestic rate) and 4.5 per cent (non-domestic).

“The government are currently working on quantifying exactly what the difference will be, but Fermanagh is one of four most impacted areas.

“Are we likely to see an increase in the domestic rate of seven per cent? Central government are saying ‘No’. They have allocated £30m of rates convergence support which will offset that. We are told this scheme will operate for three to four years.”

The new council will be 40-strong and will represent a population of 113,500 of whom 64 per cent are Catholic and 33 per cent Protestant.

Major boost as 49 jobs come to Fermanagh

October 22, 2014 3:28 pm
PEYE  Lakeland Trading 0001

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster is pictured with Matthew Martin of Lakeland Trading Solutions Ltd after announcing that the company is setting up a contact centre in Enniskillen, creating 49 jobs over the next three years.

Lakeland Trading Solutions Ltd is setting up a contact centre in Enniskillen, creating 49 jobs over the next three years.

The announcement made today (Wednesday) is a major boost to the employment market in Fermanagh.

Lakeland Trading Solutions, trading as LIMA, is a new company which will primarily sell home and contents insurance.

Welcoming the investment decision Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said:

“I am very pleased that Lakeland Trading Solutions has chosen Enniskillen as the location for its new business. This investment underlines that it is not just Belfast that investors look at when considering where to locate in Northern Ireland, and that it all comes down to finding the right location to match their individual needs.

“These new jobs are a boost to the region offering flexible employment to a wide range of people, from those with experience in customer service to others looking to develop new work skills. It is anticipated that the majority of the jobs will be filled by local unemployed people giving them training, experience and valuable transferable skills. Invest NI is dedicated to supporting growth and economic development across all areas of Northern Ireland and has offered £343,000 of support to the company.”

Matthew Martin originally from Enniskillen, but living in Scotland and England for the past 12 years, developed the business opportunity with colleague Lee Hanford.

Commenting on the announcement he said:

“After considering other UK locations, we were convinced that Enniskillen offered us the best business environment in terms of cost effectiveness along with the quality and availability of talent.

“The support we have received has been important to us getting the operation up and running and we look forward to working with them as we grow the operation over the next couple of years.

“As an Enniskillen man myself, it is great to be able to give something back to the area by setting up the business here.”

Fermanagh Jobs fair show local employers have plenty to offer

October 13, 2014 11:00 am
Fermanagh Herald Jobs Fair 2014

Myrtle Woodhouse gets some information from Leah Beattie and Ciara Balfour from Source Employment

SEVERAL hundred people were in attendance at the third annual Fermanagh Jobs and Careers Fair at the South West College on Friday.

The event was organised by the college  in association with the Fermanagh Herald and ‘Business in the Community’ (BITC).

Official figures show that there were over 600 at the event, visiting a range of exhibitors across the public and private sector.

HR Manager for the Fermanagh Herald (North West News Group), Julie Hetherington, explained: “The event provided a forum for employers and support services to raise their profile to the community and provided an opportunity for Fermanagh folk to approach employers in an informal setting to ask about current and future employment opportunities.
“Employers unanimously agreed the event was a success, and those who attended on the day gained access to information and support in the event of seeking a new job or employment opportunity.”

Adrian Cullen, group operations manager at Cooneen Group, was in attendance.

“We’re trying to find local talent,” he explained, “We have had had very good experiences over the past number of years trying to attract great local talent and we think it’s a fantastic opportunity to expose our company to the local area.
“We obviously want someone that’s motivated, someone that has done research on the company – anybody that has the knowledge and skills to drive themselves forward,” he added.

Kelly Gileece, HR at the Slieve Russell Hotel, Ballyconnell, felt it was important to recruit locally:

“We’re trying to make sure that the people who work for us are people who know the community, and can provide our guests with local experience.”

Lorraine Thompson, HR assistant Balcas, described the event as ‘crucial’.

“I think it’s been a very good day – there have been a lot of students who have put in a lot of preparation into coming along and asking for work placements,” she said.

“We have had a few people who have been actively looking for work.

“I think it’s crucial – I don’t think people always realise in the local area just how much industry there is and how much business is out there. For someone who is looking work, it gives them a snapshot of the full breadth of positions and jobs that are available.”

And, Caroline McCaffrey, HR manager with the Quinn Group explained: “We are delighted to see that there is still great talent and skills available in the Fermanagh area. It’s very important that businesses have jobs available and can retain the talent in the local area.”

She added: “It’s been very positive, with good people very keen to work.”