SIPTU members in MSD, Rathdrum, county Wicklow, were informed this morning (Thursday, 7th March) that the plant will close by the end of 2015 with the expected loss of 280 jobs. According to SIPTU Organiser, Frank Jones, workers were also informed that there would be no redundancies before the end of 2014.“While this news has come as a shock to workers and their families the fact that management has been able to provide members with this length of notice is welcome.  It is our intention to secure agreement with the company that the time between now and the redundancies is used to ensure that each and every member receives the opportunity to train up so that they will be in a position to secure employment elsewhere when their employment ends with MSD.“The section committee of the union is to hold a meeting with management early this afternoon when members expect to hear the reasons why this decision was reached and hopefully gain an understanding as to whether the site can be sold and some, or all, of the jobs saved,” Frank Jones said.SIPTU members in the Rathdrum plant went through a ‘Competitiveness Programme’ in 2011/2012 which involved substantial change in working conditions and a reduction in staff numbers. The Rathdrum plant was formerly operated by Schering Plough.  In 2009, MSD purchased Schering Plough for $41 billion and employed a global workforce of 84,000. The company declared profits of $1.74 billion in first quarter results in 2012.