Seagate: North-west needs 'regional targeting' after Londonderry job cuts

Seagate Derry
Image caption Staff were told of the job losses at a meeting on Monday

The north-west needs "regional targeting" from Stormont after the loss of 70 jobs in Londonderry, according to the city's chamber of commerce.

Employees at Seagate are waiting to see if their jobs are among those being cut from the 1,400 strong workforce.

The company made the announcement on Monday following a meeting with staff.

The president of Londonderry Chamber of Commerce believes the area needs special attention by Invest NI.

"Seventy jobs in Derry won't make a huge impact on Seagate but I think that's probably down to the fact that the Springtown plant is a key strategic part of the Seagate empire," Gavin Killeen said.

"A couple of years ago the north-west ministerial sub-group was established but nothing was really followed through.

"You'd like to see the re-establishment of that north-west sub-group, we'd like to see regional targeting for the creation of jobs with Invest Northern Ireland."

Last week, the first and deputy first ministers said they were committed to the expansion of Ulster University's Magee campus and the A5 road project.

'Further uncertainty'

The financial journalist, Paul Gosling, said Seagate is facing global pressure following poor financial results.

"There was a lot of uncertainty and rumours in the last few hours before the announcement that possibly even more jobs would go so I think that would unsettle employees here.

"It should not have come as a surprise. If you were looking at the financial results over recent days and weeks, one would have realised that Seagate had challenges and were likely to be making job losses around the globe," Mr Gosling said.

"Seagate is a big, global business but there's been pressure on its share price, its most recent financial results have been weak. There's pressure on its credit rating status, all those factors indicate that it was likely to be taking tough decisions.

"They will no doubt be concerned about Brexit, as well, so I think there will be further uncertainty," he said.

A referendum is being held on 23 June to decide whether Britain should leave or remain in the European Union.

'Brexit' is used as a shorthand way of saying the UK leaving the EU.

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Image caption Storing your data on the cloud is becoming increasingly popular

Adrian Weckler is the Irish Independent's technology editor. He said Seagate needs to find a long-term solution.

"If you think about how ordinary people use storage these days, the vast majority of us do it in two ways. On our phones or in the cloud online. That's really hurting external storage drive companies.

"Seagate, by in large, missed the mobile phone storage revolution so it's playing catch up on a number of fronts. So what it will probably do is go after the big business centre market, the data centre market, and that's really the only way they can compete at the moment," said Mr Weckler.

"Seagate is a very big player in the world market but it needs to find a very strong niche. I don't think there is any threat overall to the company in the short-term but in the long-term you would have to say it is going to have to come up with something," he said.

In a statement, Seagate said it was responding to new demand levels within the industry and taking the action to better position itself for success and growth

It added that while it was not easy to make decisions affecting people's lives, it believed this was "the best way forward for the company at this time."

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