Monday 22 December 2014

Bruton confirms he knew about possible Bausch & Lomb job cuts for months

Published 29/05/2014 | 11:20

JOBS Minister Richard Bruton has confirmed that he knew jobs were on the line at Bausch & Lomb for a number of months but he did not report it to the Dail.

The eye care products firm today confirmed 200 job losses at its plant in Waterford in a bid to keep the factory open.

As well as the 200 redundancies, the company is seeking pay cuts of up to 20pc for the remaining staff and bringing costs in line with those in Rochester, New York, where the company says wage rates are currently over 30pc lower. 

It employs 1,100 staff at its facility in Waterford - it was taken over last year by Valeant, which is the biggest drugmaker in Canada.

The plant makes contact lenses and other eye care products.

Independent TD for Waterford John Halligan has said it is “deeply disturbing” that Mr Bruton knew about the jobs issue for months.

He told RTE that that given Waterford has been one of the worst-hit areas in the country for job losses since 2008, Mr Bruton needed to bring information he had about potential redundancies and pay cuts to the attention of local politicians.

Mr Bruton confirmed that he knew jobs were at risk

"My job is to try to save the maximum number of possible of jobs in a situation like this and it is not helpful to try to do this in the public domain," he said.

It is understood that the redundancies will be voluntary at first.

A series of meetings are being held at the company today involving management, trade unions and staff.

“Our review of our manufacturing facilities shows that Waterford’s cost base is substantially out of line with other plants within the Bausch & Lomb infrastructure.” said Angelo Conti, vice president, manufacturing.

“Given Bausch & Lomb is currently trailing its competitors in the global contact lens market with a distant fourth position in market share,  the status quo is not sustainable.

"We are now faced with a stark choice; restructure in Waterford and secure its future, or see the plant close.

"While our preference is to retain Waterford as a contact lens manufacturing hub, we need to reach a decision either way very soon in the interests of creating a sustainable contact lens business.”

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