back to article There's no riddle to Dell's Limerick move

As the shockwaves of Dell's dreaded but expected withdrawal from Limerick manufacturing reverberate around Ireland's mid-west region, some lessons are emerging. The big theme emerging in many reports and commentaries is that the boom in semi-skilled assembly line jobs is well and truly over. There doesn't appear to be any …

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  1. raving angry loony

    another country, another sucker.

    So Ireland paid Dell how much in tax incentives and other perks to set up business in Ireland? How much has this fiasco actually cost the Irish taxpayer? Looks like they've been fleeced by yet another manufacturer. You'd think that those sitting on the bloody Blarney Stone (not the one in the castle, that's a fake) would do better.

    Good for Poland. Hope they aren't expecting any long-term commitment here. Dell will move yet again to the cheapest location at the first hint that there is one available. It's all temp work, they better have a backup plan for their people. The Irish don't seem to have had one.

  2. ShaggyDoggy

    6 weeks

    Holy cow 6 weeks per year worked that's fantastic.

    Where I am we're getting ONE week per year and at the statutory minimum as well.

  3. Charles Calthrop
    Thumb Up

    i hate the irish

    how come vista is cited as a cause here, when every pc ships with it? How come it affects Dell but not HPs

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't discount the Windows 7 rebound

    Maybe, just maybe there will be a W7 rebound in which case plants in Ireland and Poland will be required? It is a shame about the credit crunch though.

  5. Steen Hive
    Stop

    Great Idea

    Get people educated to degree-level and burdened with huge personal debt before their 'white-collar' 'jobs' are moved to a polish office? You are out of your fucking mind.

    People in Limerick always knew this was a Faustian bargain.

  6. Gerrit Tijhof
    Paris Hilton

    Fiddlesticks!

    Having been in a similar situation, I feel sorry for the unemployed-to-be. On the other hand, it would/could/should also mean less Polish(read non-Irish) workers coming to Ireland. Given the Irish spirit and mentality, I'm certain the situation will stabilise. But there will be a sad, cold winter this year.

    Paris, just because.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Middle class morality?

    The notion of an 'accreditation society' is not really new thing.

    My own take on it is that it is a means for middle classes to enforce middle class-ness and middle class values. In Ireland's case this means a huge shock as relatively new middle class values will probably be undermined?

  8. Mark
    Unhappy

    Whingers

    Like the article said, it was alright when they were undercutting everyone else and now they don't like it. That's life. Anyhoo, isn't 6 weeks redundancy for every year worked quite generous? I thought statutory was only 1 week for every year worked.

  9. william

    You need a balanced approached to Jobs

    In my opinion a society needs a balanced approached to Jobs, in the U.K. we have expanded our university and technical college education system and payed for this by putting our students into debt. This easy debt seems to discourage students from taking the low paid jobs (getting a job on £6/hour once the cost of working has been taken into account will have little impact on £15,000 worth debt). This in the U.K. has lead to the importing hundreds of thousand of foreigners to fill need for low paid workers.

    Governments have got to learn that they must compete at all levels and that Jobs will go to the regions where costs are lowest and they need to structure theirs societies accordingly. As soon as a state starts using social security and tax credits to move it's population out of food and fuel poverty it starts removing it's low paid work force. If food and fuel poverty are an issue then this should be provided in a way that the base requirement does not come out of a persons income (i.e the government should provided all it citizens with a base level of these items free thereby re-moving the issue). this would then allow workers to benefit by working even if all they can get is a low income.

    Ireland would be well advised to lean from the mess created here in the U.K., they need to find a way that allows low income jobs to be a stepping stone to up would social mobility.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Upskilling isn't a panacea

    Yes, we should all go out and get degrees, while the Chinese and Indians are doing the same thing, and will work for less as well.

  11. Tezfair

    its not just the recession

    Lets face it, everyone who wants a PC expects top speed for sub £400. Somethings got to give and cutting costs will involve looking at labour. I can understand why any company will want to move its business around (and lets not forget the better tax rates abroad - duh)

    However, its sucks for the people of Ireland, in as much that their taxes built the plant(s) in the first place and now Dell made a few bob and is getting a poohy because its 2nd to HP its now throwing its teddy out of the pram and leaving.

    I wonder how many people will work for Dell in Poland since most of the workers are over here. Maybe they will go back.

    Personally I never buy in Dell PCs as they are cheap and nasty. I would rather pay a little more and get a better built machine with real proactive support. And this is why I sell HPs buy the pallet load.

    Maybe HP will take over the factory and grind Dell into the ground :)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Whatever....

    "you're living in a world of make-believe. With flowers and bells and leprechauns. And magic frogs with funny little hats..." - Homer J. Simpson

    Only a low grade moron, or worse a politician, believes that R&D tech jobs are the future and that the Chinese can't aquire them also.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    current generation of semi-skilled workers ?

    IDA = Industrial Development Agency ..

    "Ireland is that it will have to expand university and technical college education. If it's a white collar future and not an assembly-line one, then that means the current generation of semi-skilled workers have had it"

    Ireland already has an excess of graduates, a lot of which emigrate or are under utilized in assembly-line work such as the above. The problem is that in today's global economy there is no need of a large local semi-skilled work force. The main use of ventures such as Dells Limerick factory was to give US companies access to the Euro zone.

    What we are seeing is the Nike-isation of the global economy. A few hundred executives managing a company on continent A while the work-force resides in low-wage continent B, the profits of which are returned to continent A.

  14. Dan Atkinson

    It's Silicon Glen All Over Again

    Government puts up big grants to secure hi-tec spend. Companies come in and take the grants. A few years down the line an emerging economy does the same. Company moves on.

    y

    Technology moves fast but so does the global economy. It sucks, but it's reality.

  15. pctechxp

    Oh dear

    I feel very sorry for those Irish workers but when you throw money at a greedy yank like Michael Dell, there will only ever be one result, its just a matter of time.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Bad news, but Dell are generous

    "At least they will have their severance package. As the reality of the difficulty of getting replacement jobs sink in there is some anger at the package, which is six weeks' pay for every year worked, excluding bonus and overtime, up to a limit of 52 weeks pay. Long-term employees, typically older and thus less likely to find alternative work, are said to resent this."

    I worked for a very rich Energy company in the UK - I was made redundant and got 3 weeks pay for every year worked (there was a similar cap). That is WAY above statutory redundancy pay... and hence I was grateful.

    It's never nice to lose a job, in these uncertain times it is even worse. To be angry or resentful of 6 weeks pay for every year worked is quite amazing however - especially as (in the UK) the first £30k is tax free and this is way above UK statutory redundancy pay (not sure what the figures are for Ireland).

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    current generation of semi-skilled workers ..

    "A dawning realisation in Ireland is that it will have to expand university and technical college education. If it's a white collar future and not an assembly-line one, then that means the current generation of semi-skilled workers have had it. There's more of them than the country currently needs and they'll have to do the best they can whilst the country educates their children for the hi-tech R&D jobs."

    The reality is, that Ireland has an excess of graduates, some of which work in semi-skilled jobs such as above, the rest emigrate. What we are looking at here is the Nike-ization of the global economy. A few hundred well-paid salaried staff on continent A, with the manufacturing plant on low-cost continent B and raw materials being provided on even lower-cost continent C, and huge profits being returned to continent A ...

    ps: IDA = Industrial Development Agency ..

    http://www.education.ie

  18. Martin Silver badge
    Coat

    Level playing field?

    Ironic since the rest of the EU has been complaining for years about Ireland's status as a corporate tax haven.

    All those US companies aren't headquartered in Dublin just for the Guinness

  19. /etc

    Michael Dell's Bravado

    "When Irish workers benefitted from Ireland being a lower-cost place to put plants than the UK or France or Germany, they sipped their Guinness with relish. Now that Poland is doing to Ireland what Ireland did to other western European countries, they are crying into their beer. It's just how it goes."

    Quite true. Still, I'm sorry for our neighbours. They seem an easy-going and cheerful lot in the main.

    The news won't affect me personally, because I gave up on Dell years ago. I'm one of the Leopard users you refer to. Speaking of which, I suppose Apple isn't feeling sorry for Michael Dell who famously advised them, when in difficulties, "shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.":

    http://news.cnet.com/Dell-Apple-should-close-shop/2100-1001_3-203937.html

  20. James
    Unhappy

    No shit

    Dell has been planning the move for years, with the help of Accenture. It's true that the recession has nothing to do with it. I've commented here before about Dell managers buying property in Poland to rent to future Dell workers there.

    As for degrees, Irish universities are too busy in training up people for what industry wanted last year. The number of grads who are capable of innovating is quite slim in my opinion, the majority just know what they think they need to get by for a few years, before realising that they're in the wrong job and moving on.

    Ireland has gone back to the 1990's within 3 months

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Not bad on the redundancy package

    6 weeks for every year? That's not bad at all. I get 1 1/2 weeks per year limited to 200-odd pounds per week. And before anyone says well you must have a really badly paid job, I get 40-odd grand a year. That's while I have a job....... Hohohohohoho

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How much is a degree in Ireland (or the UK) worth?

    Why would Dell want to employ graduates in Ireland when they can employ graduates from the extended Eurozone for (we are told) a fraction of the annual cost of UK+Ireland graduates? What makes the logic any different for graduates than it is for "semi-skilled" workers? The extended Eurozone countries do have technical universities, I believe, unlike the "modernised" UK, where the "masters of the universe" have largely abolished subjects like numeracy, analysis, logic, and engineering.

    Come to think of it, what's the going rate for an eastern European spreadsheet-jockey aka manager vs the traditional UK+I rate? Or are management jobs not heading east until the East's golf courses have been upgraded?

    Whatever happened to "staying close to The Customer"?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    that old chestnut

    Firstly my heart goes out to the Dell employees facing the chop. I find out next week whether I still have a job as the global company that employees me has put every developer it employees in the UK at risk so it "can meet it synergy targets" ! Therefore in all likelyhood this time next week I'll be trying to figure out what what to do next.

    I'd like to take issue with the author's remark :

    "They know hi-tech assembly line jobs are just not hi-tech enough. Having a semi-skilled workforce doesn't cut it any more - it has to be fully-skilled, to degree level."

    Pray what degree should we all have studied or should we go and study. Clearly not IT in any shape or form as jobs are being shipped outside the EU at a rate of knots (or they are being done here by non-EU staff shipped in with government sanctioned work permits and visas). Manufacturing is on its knees - even Nissan , BMW and Toyota with their hyper-efficient plan and desirable product are cutting back production , shifts and jobs. Pharmaceutical research is being done in India and elsewhere. I could go on, but I can't be bothered anymore. I'm tired of hearing talking heads going on about "moving up the value chain" and "up-skilling the workforce " without any evidence that they have actually thought their arguement through.

  24. Lars Silver badge
    Happy

    The way it goes

    As far as I remember, when Nokia decided to get rid of the German Bochum factory it was not only about labor cost but about efficiency too (too many men to change the light bulb).

    Rememer the times when "made in Hong Kong", "made in Japan" was low cost, low quality.

    "Those where the days".

    The low cost labor was then in Korea, now Kina and East Europe.

    The interesting question is, if, and when, Africa will be the next cheap labor provider.

    The next country to need cheap labor is probably Kina and their interest and commitments in Africa are huge.

    Education, yes, but how come teaching is such a low "cost" profession.

    Perhaps "those days have gone".

    '

  25. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    So it goes.

    I agree with the main point of the article. Just a few notes though;

    * The timing is unfortunate but this shutdown has been planned for quite a while (I first heard that the plant was closing completely last May - hence anon).

    * The Irish government will have to encourage IT (and other science) courses as getting the numbers to fill theses courses is already difficult.

    * Unless Things get a lot worse I think Intel will be staying put. The amount of investment in the plant in Leixslip is huge, and as a high profile tech company they don't seem to have any problem in getting the graduates.

    It will be interesting to see what happens to Irelands IT industry five years hence.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    6 weeks wages

    While I feel for the workers who will lose their jobs, I can't help thinking they have got a pretty good redundancy package. Six weeks for every year and still they moan.

  27. elderlybloke
    Unhappy

    Who will trust Dell

    now. Any country that Dell tries to bribe and hoodwink in future, should remember how they have behaved.

    And not just in Ireland.

  28. Michael
    Black Helicopters

    Limerick back to poland?

    According to the politics.ie website , a lot of the workers at the limerick plant are polish anyway!

    What are the chances that any of them will be allowed to relocate with "full contract continuity"???

    Could be something the unions should be interested in, rather than the usual Nationalist circle -jerk.

    Black helicopter , cos that's what i'll be commuting in ......

  29. Elrond Hubbard
    Stop

    Where's the tax angle?

    Didn't Dell get a whopping great tax rebate to move to Ireland?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Re: How much is a degree in Ireland (or the UK) worth?

    Very little.

    The universities are teaching what the industry wants and not fundamentals. As a result as the industry moves on the graduates emerging from the universities have the skills of yesteryear and find it quite troublesome to compete against imports.

    Thankfully (for them), the economic downturn in the late 90-es and early 2000-es in Eastern Europe and Russia resulted in a generation of people whose education is substandard and the rest of Europe is producing roughly in line with local demand.

    If France was producing surplus IT graduates we would have been in serious deep-sh.... Ditto for Scandinavian countries, Germany, etc.

    Actually we will be in deep sh*** anyway pretty soon when the fact that Russia now has money will filter down to the education and R&D sector in a couple of years (it takes around 10+ years for this to feel down to the school level).

  31. Chris Mellor

    Sent to me

    Hi,

    Before criticizing Poland, ask yourself why Limerick got that plant in the first place: Because Irish labor used to be the cheapest in the Union!

    This it why the EU exists. I have observed "enlargement" since the Six. Each time, the new members have benefited from investors looking for cheap labor. Each time, those labor costs have risen faster than the EU average, until they (almost) catch up with the "core countries". Economic growth in the core countries has been a bit slower than it might have been, while economic growth in enlargement countries has played catch-up.

    Now it is Ireland's turn to feel dismay at the end of 6% growth, while Slovakia takes off.

    That's what the Union is SUPPOSED to do!

    Bob

  32. Mark
    Alien

    "just how badly do you want these new jobs?"

    Just how badly does Dell want increased profits from no work?

    They want cheaper labour to increase profits rather than make a better product to increase profits. Please tell me the CEO job is being outsourced to Poland too. Go on.

  33. Mark
    Thumb Down

    re: Whingers

    One week per year service is standard. Board level get a years' golden parachute when they've overseen the company steered into the tarpits. So comparing the 6 weeks redundancy to the statutory minumum is assinine.

    And I bet Dell will still expect loyalty from their employees. Why? There's no loyalty to the workforce.

  34. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: Not bad on the redundancy package

    Could arseholes PLEASE stop complaining that just because THEY got fucked up the arse by a seqoia that anyone who doesn't get a 100ft tree rammed up their anus are well off.

    Just because YOU accepted crap terms of employment, don't demand everyone else gets fucked over too. It's not a ride to the bottom.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stab city will become stab, shoot and mutilate city

    When Dell pull out there will be loads of other smaller companies that depend on or supply dell that will go to the wall. A lot of people will up sticks and get the hell out of that shithole Limerick. At present it has the moniker "stab city" but I can foresee that changing to something worse as the ratio of social welfare claiming scum to people that work changes (i.e. this will have the effect of distilling the population resuling in a higher proportion of scumbags)

    To people unfamiliar with Limerick, it is Irelands version of Hull, but possibly even crappier - pikeys run riot in Limerick (actual pikeys, not your common or garden hoddie wearing chav) and it has absolutely no redeeming features whatsoever.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Goodwill towards Dell

    It will be interesting to see how impacted sales for Dell products are in Ireland. There has always been a tremendous amount of "goodwill" towards the company in government and the civil service but now that 1900 jobs are going, I believe (but maybe incorrect) that HP is a larger employer in Ireland.

    With Apple still based in Cork, Dell really hasn't done itself any favours but I suppose, they don't really give a monkeys about the Irish market (small as it is).

    What price EMC leaving Cork in the next two years?

    Pirates because, well, you can't take millions in grants from country a and then the same from company b without some buccaneer-like behaviour.

  37. Mark
    Boffin

    On job creation

    I wonder if for expensive white elephants like the expansion of Heathrow, where the government tell us "It will help create jobs", the people and politicians against it could demand that a clause be put in that the jobs created will be for people with a british birth certificate only.

    After all, what those jobs created will be filled with is cheap labour brought over for the work and then dropped, with most of the money being sent back home.

    If the proponents of big projects like this can't do that, then they shouldn't state it will create jobs. After all, blowing the shit out of another country will create jobs too. Just ask Haliburton.

  38. Peter Kay

    Should have been foreseen..

    Whilst it's certainly not good for the Irish workers this really could have been foreseen. Dell build another plant and ship workers from Ireland to train them up? At that point you should be looking for a job given Dell's history..

    I'd also note that in my limited experience of Ireland, there are already plenty of bright graduates out there, many of which will probably have been working for Dell. What are they going to upskill to, exactly?

  39. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Taxpayers' money

    @aving angry loony

    Dell has never really received Irish taxpayers' money as it has been a net receiver of EU development aid ever since joining the EU. So, it's been German taxpayers' money all the time and they're generally quite happy to pay to increase trade: what cars do the workers at the factories wherever they are buy?

    @chris mellor

    I thought the latest stats from Slovakia, along with the Baltic states, weren't that positive. Romania and Bulgaria are the current places to go in the EU.

  40. This post has been deleted by its author

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If Semi-Skilled Jobs....

    are cheaper in Poland, then doesn't it follow supervisory and research jobs will be as well, so who needs expensive Irish, British, French, German, Japanese and US jobs when we can get them for half the price in Eastern Europe, China, India, Vietnam and so on.

    The upside is I guess that transporting goods around the world is likely to get more expensive, so that being able to halve the manufacturing costs by producing in China, won't cut much ice if it then costs far more to ship it.

    I wonder when it is going to be cost effective enough again to have smaller manufacturing units closer to your markets ? I wonder if those good old spreadsheets look at the price of oil over the payback period for a new factory, bet they don't, probably a bit too complex for them.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dell & Intel - the list goes on

    Dell R&D - how much R&D goes into their boxes?? - the Dell problem is that they produce commodities - Poland will last until some ex-USSR country becomes stable enough to do the work - Ironically, the Chinese improvement in living standards creates higher Chinese wages so less jobs go there.

    Intel - when is the last time they built a FAB plant in Kildare (their Irish HQ)?? Moores law etc would give them a short time before they have to move on or invest

    HP - see ex Russian country above..

    MS etc - check how many companies are based there becuase of Low Corporation Tax - Osama says he wants to tax US companies avoiding tax abroad...

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    "upskilling" == political cowardice

    As commenters have already pointed out - there are no more jobs for graduates either. And, there is an even larger number of people for whom more education is neither desirable or even possible. These people also need to have something useful to contribute. The unregulated global economy means that there are going to be no "normal" jobs left, which leads to the kind of hopelessness we see in high unemployment areas.

    At some point, a future government is going to have to have the cojones to start controlling the import of ordinary stuff to rejuvenate the local market in making things. It will be massively unpopular, as people like their £9.50 DVD players.......

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Irish self-delusion

    The problem here in Ireland is that people somehow thought that the "Celtic Tiger" was a special case, and now they're finding out that global CEOs don't quite see it that way.

    The author is wrong about the lack of graduates in Ireland though; there's still a net outflow of graduates from Ireland mainly to the UK (which is why the place where I work in Dublin has a preponderance of Europeans; every other accent on the bus home ISN'T Irish). Whether they're doing the "right" degrees is another matter.

    On the other hand, the author got one thing (tangentially) correct; there's a benefit in having more companies with fewer employees, rather than putting all your eggs in one basket with the likes of Dell, especially in Ireland, where the small population gives these upheavals such a disproportionate effect.

  45. Ian

    What these companies don't factor in...

    What these companies don't factor into their little "Shall we move?" spreadsheets is the cost of losing people who have worked for them for anything up to almost 20 years.

    As was demonstrated with Dell's outsourcing to India, the result was catastrophic. They went from the company with the best technical support around to being a complete joke with outright worthless tech support overnight and my last three employers were all Dell shops that have now moved to other suppliers as a result of the change.

    Dell can't stem it's downward spiral by repeatedly doing what put it into that spiral in the first place. If it wants to see gains it needs to accept a cut in profit margins temporarily to pay for workers that are actually competent and skilled. Once they have that competent workerbase back customers can have confidence to go back to them again, but if they persist down the route of paying less and getting less, then, well, it's going to be their end eventually.

    You cannot kick out 1000s of workers that have years, even decades of experience in your company and just pick up 1000s of new workers who have never worked the business before and expect things to carry on as they were. There's going to be failure after failure that'll cost dearly in the end, again, as demonstrated by their tech support move to India.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Its not just the dell jobs

    Its the 10-15000 people supporting that factory in other companies, like intel, segate, the local cafe the delivery drivers,the cooks, cleaners , rent a cops, creches, ect. its impact wil be huge major ripples. I personall will pressure my client to not buy dell now. I have about 100k og kit needing to be replaced this year and it will not go to them..... HP or Lenovo I think.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Charlie Clark

    ireland has been a net contributer in fact.

    also Ireland did buy dell. Many Goverment depts have Dell kit as do many Irish firms. I support these things nationwide and I can tell you that ita about 7-3 in dells favour when when I see laptos or desktops. has been that way for about 7 years before that it was IBM.

  48. Andrew Duffin
    Unhappy

    Ok, but...

    It's hard to argue too much with the analysis, but there is a problem.

    Even supposing the jobs existed, not everyone is capable of becoming a degree-qualified brain worker. Unless we dumb degrees down even more than the UK already has, which would mean nothing changes anyway.

    Or, to put it more bluntly, what are we to do with the left-hand side of the Bell curve?

    There are hundreds of thousands of good, capable, hard-working citizens who need something worthwhile to do. If they don't find anything worthwhile to do, there will be trouble. Saying to them "tough, Poles are cheaper" may be true, but will not avert the trouble.

    I don't pretend to know the answer, btw.

  49. Maryland, USA

    The severance package is sweet

    While I feel sorry for those who will be losing their jobs, let's put things in perspective. Here in the states, I've been laid off eight times in 30 years. The last time I received severance pay was 1981: I was given 4 weeks' pay for my 3 years of work. I thank my stars that I work in a country where a company can kick me out on the street with no compensation: It's this very mobility that makes them more willing to hire me in the first place. The opposite situation is found in countries like France, where it's so costly to lay someone off that businesses won't add workers unless absolutely necessary.

  50. Lol Whibley
    Unhappy

    they missed a trick..

    I once worked for fujitsu (aka Fukutoo) . we were building big servers in a semi-skilled way in a warehouse in warrington.

    we got very good at it, what with all the internicine warfare going on between fujitsu and ICL who were having fun merging and pointing out the flaws in each other's work ethic.. everything we did got tripple checked to the back teeth as the different teams of QOS monkeys on either side of the fence bitched at each other. by the end of it, we were turning out a couple of hundred 6-processor ML700 (?- details fail me) hand built a month between 6 of us.

    Fujitsu had this idea it would be better (read: cheaper) if they were prodused by Danish people and not ourselves, with an eye to closing our department. As part of this, and typical of the corporate management mentality, they asked us to train our replacements.

    ooooh we had fun. they sent a bunch of midlle-tech types over and we gave them most of the manuals and some of the verbal instruction we'd worked up in the usual ad-hoc 'this is how you get it to work' you generate on a fast-moving assembly line..

    the upshot was, in the preceeding months once the work had been transferred to the Danes, the throughput dropped to 3 servers. Sales were still pushing the orders through with the idea that the work was going to be done the same as always..

    move the work at your peril. it's never as good as it was.

    much sympathy to the Irish, they got Fukutoo'd

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    (untitled)

    Welcome to the world of the Global Economy, where the economic arguments in favour of no trade barriers and ease of movement of jobs, staff, and products overwhelmingly convince Top Management of their benefit; but which turn normal citizens into a simple resource, unworthy of further consideration. Where elected governments have to bow to the pressures of unelected (by the people) international merchants, or else find their country attracts no investment. Where any desire to protect one's country's citizen's interest is frowned upon as attempting to reduce the potential wealth that the multinationals can attract.

    In any equitable solution there is usually an element of balance. But if one side is powerful enough to force though their own interests then the, "this is good we need it everywhere at any cost", argument tends to hold sway.

  52. Norfolk Enchants Paris

    @AC 15:47 and @ the article

    AC 15:47 - I agree. But not in such a fundamentatist way. The reduction of trade barriers means that the work can easily flow to the cheapest place, or (as we have seen at places like JCB) pressure and threats can reduce the cost of labour where the jobs ~currently~ are. There are few barriers to this behaviour and while it creates opportunities for some, it creates disadvantages for others.

    @ the article... Apple's Leopard OS is reaping the benefits .. really? with Apple's giant 6% of the dektop and 4% of the laptop market? Making around 5% of the overall 'PC' market, that's not exactly ''reaping''. That's not to say it isn't better than Vista....

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    HP

    From what I recall, HP make more than just printer cartidges in Ireland. Lots of weapons tech shit going down there. Something about missile guidance systems according to a couple of staffers. Pure hearsay, but it fits with the ridonkulous security they got going on there.

  54. steven kraft Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    That's the way the cookie crumbles

    You attract companies to Ireland with lots of tax breaks and low costs, and then you are surprised when those companies move to other countries where they can get new tax breaks and low costs?

    Maybe there was a time when Ireland was a lot like what you see in John Ford's "The Quiet Man", but Ireland is a developed economy now. The fact is that unless you are a highly qualified machinist or manufacturing technician, you can't expect to keep reliably employed in a developed-economy factory anymore. Between automation and low-cost/low-regulation Asian and Eastern European countries, the days when the manufacturing working class was the major constituency in a developed economy are done and gone. The only thing that I see changing this is if carbon taxes become so universal and strict that it starts to become uneconomical to manufacture in low-wage companies and then ship the resulting products thousands of miles to their ultimate markets.

    At least 6 week of severance per year of service is pretty generous.

    Good luck to the ex-Dell employees in Limerick!

    Paris--because I am sure that given their new-found free time, laid-off Dell employees will have a chance to follow her adventures on the various TV shows she's involved in.....

  55. Henry
    Stop

    When is this shell game going to end?

    This will all stop once imported goods are priced with their labour component grossed up to the local equivalent wage. "Semi Skilled" in the EU is the same as "Unskilled" in some third world country except you get to the place of work on paved roads.

    This may harken to the bad old days of "protectionism" but it seems to me that it all becomes a vicious cycle. We earn wages here so that we can earn enough to buy goods made elsewhere and everyone keeps quiet because everyone in the chain needs to get their cut?

    We consumers are trained rats to keep the middleman alive.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Answer: layoff Dell (and no severance)

    "Dude, you got diddled by Dell!" Why are people still buying this tatty company's tat?

  57. The Irish Penguin
    Boffin

    Did Vista contribute to Dell’s Limerick closure?

    @Norfolk Enchants Paris: I'm no Mac fanboy but in June 2008 Apple notebook sales were up 61% since the first quarter of 07. Not a bad growth rate by any standard.

    http://www.theirishpenguin.com/2009/01/12/did-vista-contribute-to-dells-limerick-closure

  58. David

    Watch out for Dell in the UK too..

    Given the way things are going for Dell, there's a strong possibility that they could also close their UK facilities too. They have centres in Glasgow (employs 810) and Bracknell (employs 1410). A review is currently taking place and is expected to be completed in 6 months!

    Glasgow is unlikely to close as it only opened in 2005 and closure would result in the requirement to repay a load of grant aid.

    Bracknell however, is expensive to run and it could be a fairly big hit to the local area if it closes.

    The PC industry simply isn't viable at UK or Irish (or US or Western European) wage levels anymore. They're a generic product that is simply churned out at the cheapest price. That kind of large scale electronics manufacturing will go east.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Sum musings ...

    1 - don't blame Dell

    I guess Mr Dell is taking decisions based on the purchasing patterns of his customers. Perhaps if we were all able to say "Yes please, charge another £50 to ensure that local employees job security is maintained. In fact, make it £100 so that every separate nation has its own dell plant in situ."

    So really it might be our own selves that have to shoulder ultimate responsibility?

    2 - The Irish government

    (if it has any sense) might just say "Here's an order for umpteen Dell computer systems." "Oh? Your thinking of closing shop? Why don't we help you to mothball it with minimal staff until the order book is burstng again?"

  60. Moss Icely Spaceport
    Thumb Up

    @ Maryland, USA

    LOL

    "I thank my stars that I work in a country where a company can kick me out on the street with no compensation: It's this very mobility that makes them more willing to hire me in the first place."

    Your logic is priceless!

    Keep drinking the company kool-aid!

  61. Norfolk Enchants Paris

    @ The Irish Penguin

    Yes, that's true. But 'up 61%' took them from 4% of the market to 6%. So while it looks like a great number, they're still way down there. And let's not forget that their 'desktop' products were cannibalised somewhat, which is why their overall market share is around 5% and holding.

    I'd say that if anything is 'reaping benefits' it's Linux.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Skilled workers and degrees

    As more people move to degree level educational institutions there is, it seems, an inevitable decline in the overall quality of the graduates. Many degree programs in Canada now produce "graduates" who would not have managed to pass twenty or thirty years ago. The programs that seem to suffer the most from this degradation in the quality of the graduates are those that require, or did in the past require, a strong math/science background; especially true in the computer science field.

    Ireland would do itself a huge favour by not allowing their Universities to succumb to the everyone needs a degree so we'll just change the course material so that everyone can pass mentality.

    Now, as a master of stating the obvious, the problem with a weakened curriculum is that those one supposes can do the job they were employed to do either take much longer, produce lower quality work, or simply cannot do the job. High-tech employers are now leaving Canada to find University graduates with the skills to do the job at hand, not to pay lower wages. Some are moving to America, because even with their, overall, low standard of primary and secondary they are still able to produce many quality university graduates.

    Good Luck to Ireland. Don't succumb.

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