THE legacy of the late Sir Allen McClay, founder of the internationally-successful pharmaceutical firm, is at risk after the company’s annual ‘Event in the Tent’ was postponed for the year.
That is the claim made by one Almac employee who believes the event, which has been held for all employees across all divisions since the firm’s infancy, has in effect been cancelled.
An email informing employees was sent out by chief executive officer (CEO) Alan Armstrong at the end of June.
It says that the ‘Event in the Tent’, held at Almac’s headquarters in Craigavon, will be postponed along with a similar event in the United States because they “incur significant costs to run”.
The email adds that travel has been limited to “essential business” only, along with external training which has been “limited” to training that enables Almac to meet regulatory or statutory requirements.
Mr Armstrong said that while Almac’s revenue figures have remained “flat”, the company’s “costs have continued to rise and in common with many businesses in the current economic climate, we are experiencing increased pressure from our customers to be more competitive.
“This in turn means that we have less available cash to reinvest back into the business.”
He stressed that Almac remained a “strong, healthy business” and these measures were to ensure that the company could continue to invest and “secure future growth”,
He said, “We have been fortunate to weather most the storm of the economic recession that has severely impacted local and global businesses alike.”
However, the employee said the decision to postpone the parties went against Sir Allen’s company ethos which was a strong feature of the businessman’s tenure until his death in 2010.
“The party was a personal touch by McClay. It was a day for the employees who looked forward to as their ‘wee day’ when everyone from all of the divisions got together.
“They (the company) say the party has been ‘postponed’ but really, unless they announce plans to hold it within the year, it’s cancelled.”
The staff member added that it was also “disappointing” that money would not be raised for charity due to the party’s postponement.
“Last year the event raised £10k for Cancer Research. Each year normally Almac’s customers are asked to supply prizes for a raffle and this is not happening and that’s disappointing, particularly as McClay sadly succumbed to cancer.
“Over the past couple of years things have got tighter, but at the same time everyone is happy that they’ve still got a job.”
In response, a spokeswoman for Almac said, “Almac continues to trade well, but operates in a highly competitive global marketplace and must continue to reinvest significantly in capital and R&D projects to retain its leading position.
“To ensure that this essential investment can continue in the face of rising costs and increased competitive pressures, the company has put in place a number of cost-saving measures across every aspect of the business. These include energy efficiencies, greener and more efficient methods of waste disposal, introducing more cost-effective ways of distributing our products and limiting business travel to only that which is essential.”
She continued, “These short-term measures will help Almac to remain a strong and healthy company for the long-term in the interests of the business and its employees as a whole. The priority is to safeguard and preserve the legacy of Sir Allen McClay, ensuring that Almac continues to flourish from its Craigavon headquarters.”