The Brakes premises at Hillhall Road.. INUS0713-BRAKES
The Brakes premises at Hillhall Road.. INUS0713-BRAKES

UP to 40 jobs are at risk at a local food distribution company.

Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donadlson has said he hopes management at the factory will accommodate most of its workers.

Mr Donaldson was speaking this week as it was revealed that up to 40 jobs from 150 staff are at risk at O’Kanes Brakes Bros on the Hillhall Road due to the relocation of its distribution centre to Dublin in April.

Those staff whose jobs are at risk include the warehouse, drivers, supervisors and administration workers.

Mr Donaldson has already met with management and has also spoken to union representatives over the issue.

He said, “Over the last two to three years O’Kanes were bought over by Brakes Bros a national company.

“During that time customers have changed significantly and they are now doing a high proportion of their business in the Irish Republic where they have two major customers and large contracts to supply products.

“These contracts are now up for renewal. Customers in the Irish Republic have made it a condition of their renewed contract that O’Kanes have a distribution base in the Republic so that they are closer to their customers.

“Consequently O’Kanes have to relocate some of their operation to a distribution centre in Dublin. As a result up to 40 jobs will be relocated from Lisburn mainly driving and factory based staff.

“We met with senior management from O’Kanes and they have assured me of their ongoing commitment to retain their headquarters and a significant part of their operation at their Hillhall Road site.

“This will mean continuing employment for most of their staff in Lisburn and they hope to expand their activities in Lisburn with new customers being attracted in Northern Ireland and other parts of the United Kingdom.

“They are hopeful that they will be able to relocate many of their jobs to Dublin on local business employment for additional staff in the Lisburn area in the short and medium term.

“The management have made it very clear that in order to obtain a viable business with a large customer base in the Republic they have no alternative but to open a second depot in Dublin.

“Whilst I welcome the very clear commitment given by the company to retain their facilities in Lisburn it is disappointing that some jobs are being relocated, although we can see the reasons why this has happened.

“I have been in talks with the union representatives and will continue to engage with the company to ensure that impact of the local employment is minimised and that ever reasonable step is taken to accommodate those who wish to remain in Lisburn.”