NINETEEN skilled workers may lose their jobs in the flowering and basket making department of Belleek Pottery.

Company talks with Ceramics and Allied Trades Union are continuing and are aimed at cutting this figure, according to union president Peter McMahon.

Group director John Maguire said the prospect of the 19 redundancies was a worst-case scenario and every avenue was being explored to reduce the number during the January consultation period.

The potters is to continue with its three-day week which was introduced last June in response to a slow-down in US sales in the months after the September 11 terrorist attack.

"The global situation has been very difficult for the last 18 months and we are hoping the worst is behind us," Mr. Maguire said.