Friday 27 February 2015

Siptu to fight for Bausch & Lomb workers in 'high stakes' talks

About 200 people at the Waterford company are facing redundancies

Conor Kane

Published 02/06/2014 | 19:39

Workers leave the Waterford factory of Bausch and Lomb yesterday, after hearing the bleak news on their job prospects. Photo: Mary Browne
Workers leaving the Waterford factory of Bausch and Lomb last week, after hearing the bleak news on their job prospects. Photo: Mary Browne

Union representatives for over 900 workers facing an uncertain future at a pharmaceutical plant in Waterford will begin “high-stakes” discussions tomorrow.

The union reps will be pressing for compromises with management when both sides meet.

SIPTU officials representing staff at Bausch + Lomb in Waterford met with local Oireachtas members today to urge them to pressurise the government to talk to management.

SIPTU have agreed to engage with management following last week’s shock announcement that about 200 people at the 1,100-strong contact lens manufacturer in Waterford are to be cut, with remaining staff facing a 20pc pay cut.

Workers were told €20 million in savings had to be made just to keep the facility open.

However, officials from SIPTU, who represent more than 900 of the staff, said today they hope there’s room for negotiation.

Bausch + Lomb is the largest private-sector employer in the southeast but, according to management, payroll costs are running 30pc higher in Ireland than at its base in Rochester, New York, and these need to be lowered to keep the Waterford base viable.

Among the politicians who attended yesterday’s crisis meeting at the Tower Hotel in Waterford were Oireachtas members from Sinn Féin, Labour and Fine Gael and SIPTU asked them to go back to the government and ask for the workers’ case to be further impressed on company management

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