Northern Ireland

Former Quinn Glass factory's owners Vidrala in pledge to unions

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Media captionGorka Schmitt, CEO of Vidrala, spoke to BBC News NI's Julian Fowler

The new owners of the former Quinn Glass factory in Derrylin, County Fermanagh, have told management and unions they are committed to the long-term future of the plant.

Spanish firm Vidrala bought the company in a deal worth 408.6m euros (£316.3m).

It also has a factory at Elton, Cheshire, and plans to invest an extra 200m euros (£153.6m) over five years.

Quinn Glass was rebranded as Encirc last year.

Former billionaire Sean Quinn lost control of it in 2011, when a receiver was appointed to his manufacturing businesses.

It makes bottles and jars for the food and drinks industry.

There has been opposition to the takeover in the local community along the Fermanagh/Cavan border, and fears for the 440 jobs at the Derrylin site.

Hundreds of people attended a recent public meeting in Ballyconnell to express their concerns and call for the business to be retained in local ownership.

Signs opposing the sale have also been put up alongside the road leading to the factory.

Develop

Vidrala is a family-owned firm with 50 years' experience in the glass industry and its chief executive officer Gorka Schmitt said they want to use that experience to develop the business with the local management team in Derrylin.

Mr Schmitt told the BBC: "If we are able to develop the right projects together with the local management and with the commitment of all our employees and also with the local support I will be expecting that signs will be on the roads after 10 years, after 20 or after 30.

"We are now 50 years (old) and it's an industrial project focused on the long-term so we know we will remember how we are received, but we hope to change people's minds and see that Vidrala is the right project and to see where we are in 10 or 20 (years) or in the future because it is a long-term project."

Brian Monaghan from the Unite trade union said they have been given assurances from the new owners that the jobs of its members will be safeguarded.

"They have reassured us that the furnace that needs built, they will invest the money, and they have also come here and invested 408m euros and they have no intentions of pulling out," he said.

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