Merck & Co., posted a WARN notice that it will lay off 172 people from its information technology unit at its Branchburg facility in North Jersey. The job cuts are effective March 16.

Though it still hires for some positions in some places, the drugmaker announced in October 2013 that it planned major job cuts and consolidation of facilities by the end of 2015. This move is part of that process, according a Merck spokeswoman.

Merck, which has big operations in Upper Gwynedd and West Point, Montgomery County, has vacated its Whitehouse Station facility and moved its headquarters to Kenilworth. Both of those towns are in North Jersey.

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), which became effective in 1989, is a federal law designed in part to give workers, their families and the community 60 days notice of plant closings or massive layoffs. The notices appear on websites managed by state labor departments.