Ciena lets Nortel staff go

Ethernet networking specialist Ciena is understood to be cutting 17 jobs at Nortel's Monkstown facility in Northern Ireland, drawing fire from the Unite union. The union's local representative, Sean Smyth told the BBC that angry members believed President Obama's recent call to protect US worker

Ethernet networking specialist Ciena is understood to be cutting 17 jobs at Nortel's Monkstown facility in Northern Ireland, drawing fire from the Unite union.

The union's local representative, Sean Smyth told the BBC that angry members believed President Obama's recent call to protect US workers meant that more jobs at the plant, and in US IT firms across the province, could be at risk.

Smyth added to calls for a jobs task force to be set up by the Stormont Assembly to address his members' fears.

The cuts come as part of a wider cull in EMEA, totalling between 120 and 140 heads. MicroScope understands the positions are to be relocated to Ciena's base of operations in Maryland.

Ciena bought defunct Nortel's optical networking and carrier Ethernet late last year for $769m, later rising to $774m.

Earlier in 2010 Avaya, which bought Nortel's enterprise business last year, cut 140 jobs at the facility. Nortel itself also took an axe to the Monkstown workforce in March last year in a move that attracted much criticism and even drew the attention of far-right politicians.

The facility once formed the keystone of Nortel's EMEA supply chain operation and employed over 1,000 staff in its heyday. By the time Nortel went into administration in January 2009 it employed about half that number.

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