Page last updated at 12:25 GMT, Monday, 30 March 2009 13:25 UK

Nortel to cut County Antrim jobs

Nortel employs 500 people in Newtownabbey

Nortel has made 87 people redundant at its plant in Newtownabbey. 220 jobs are being cut across the UK.

Last month the telecoms company said it was planning to shed over 3,000 jobs worldwide.

Nortel's UK operation went into administration in January after its parent firm filed for US bankruptcy protection.

Eugene McGlone of the Unite union said staff at the County Antrim plant were given no warning.

"We had hoped there would have been some earlier warning of it, so that we would have been in a position to discuss the potential detail and hopefully alleviate some of it but it's just come down on us very, very quickly.

"We would be hopeful that there would be the opportunity to enter into meaningful discussions with the company, but we won't know that until later on this afternoon."

Sean Neeson, Alliance MLA for East Antrim, described the job losses as "a massive blow."

"These jobs are highly skilled and well paid. Their loss will hit the community extremely hard," he said.

"East Antrim has had an extremely tough time in recent months, with a number of redundancies being made at other companies too. The Stormont Executive must not sit on its hands during this difficult period - we need radical thought to produce a sustainable approach to addressing the downturn."

About 500 people are employed at the Newtownabbey site. More than 2,000 people worked there at its peak.

It opened in the 1960s as a Standard Telephone and Cables manufacturing facility, which was bought by Nortel in 1992.

The company website describes the site at Monkstown industrial estate in Newtownabbey as 'a multifunctional, 34 acre facility, providing services from design to distribution.'

It is the headquarters of the Nortel's European, Middle East and Africa supply chain operations.

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