Avaya Will ‘Potentially Close’ Key Nortel Facility

Avaya Inc. may close a key Nortel Networks plant in Monkstown, a suburb of Belfast, Ireland.

The facility is the same one where angry laid-off Nortel workers picketed last year.

Now comes word that Avaya, which won Nortel’s enterprise assets last September at auction, may axe 140 more jobs. An Avaya spokesperson told the Newtownabbey Times that Avaya is consulting with experts “to potentially close the Monkstown office.”

The newspaper said about 40 percent of the Monkstown staff work for the Avaya part of the business.

But it appears employees won’t go without a fight. Sean Smyth, an organizer for the trade union Unite, told the Newtownabbey Times it’s imperative for labor to set up a task force of politicians and other officials “to try and thrash out the promotion of sustainable jobs in Northern Ireland.”

Smyth also called for a severance package fund so workers don’t lose out on pay they deserve, as happened last year.

Nortel long has been a source of economic security in the area – that is, until it went bankrupt last January and started parting out its various divisions. Avaya won the enterprise properties with a $900 million bid; that deal closed in the fourth quarter of 2009 and Avaya has spent the first month of 2010 forming product and operations integration strategies.

“It is looking like the company is now simply turning around orders until the target date of June and after that it will be thanks, and cheerio,” Smyth told the Newtownabbey Times earlier this week.

According to Nortel’s Web site, the Monkstown campus comprises 34 acres and serves as the headquarters of the company’s EMEA supply chain operations. Workers at the site distribute platforms for metro and enterprise networks, wireless networks and optical long-haul networks.

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