Around 270 people are to lose their jobs with the axing of the Sensata Technologies plant in Carrickfergus.
The company has today informed staff of its intention to commence a phased closure of its Meadowbank Road site.
The business says it will engage in a collective consultation period with employees during which proposed alternatives to compulsory redundancy will be considered.
Sensata Technologies is a global organisation which makes sensors, switches and controls for multiple industries. It has had a significant manufacturing and R&D presence in Northern Ireland since its 2014 acquisition of Schrader Electronics, which was founded in 1988.
The company, which has a total of 1,178 employees split between Carrickfergus and Antrim, manufactures a range of Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS). A small number of operational support roles based in Antrim are also included within the total of 270 jobs to go.
Yann Etienvre, senior vice president, Global Operations at Sensata Technologies, said: “As a company we are facing a perfect storm of European market conditions which have led to a significant drop in demand for the product lines currently manufactured in Carrickfergus.
“There has been a well-documented fall in the global automotive industry and this has been further heightened by consolidation in our market, with existing customers being absorbed into large entities whose manufacturing processes use alternative products to our own.
“We had anticipated that a proposed tightening of European TPMS legislation would drive increased demand for direct sensing systems and, as a result, increased demand for TPMS products. Unfortunately, this has not happened as indirect sensing solutions continue to be permitted by the European authorities. In response we have had to review our organisational model.”
With the factory to shut in early 2021, he added: “The proposed closure of our Carrickfergus site has been a very difficult decision for the company to make, and a number of actions were implemented to try to avoid reaching this point.
“Our focus now is on providing support to the affected employees and their families through the consultation period. To that end we have engaged external consultants LHH Penna to provide career transition advice and assistance for all affected employees.”
Mr Etienvre reiterated the company’s commitment to maintaining and growing its engineering capabilities in the province.
He said: “Sensata Technologies remains committed to our Northern Ireland operation. We continue to manufacture products at our Antrim site and we are on target with our plans to develop an R&D centre of excellence there. This investment in new products and a new technology centre will result in the creation of additional jobs in the next two years.”