independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Union hopes crystal brand challenge will bring back jobs

A trade union is mounting a legal challenge to bring the manufacture of Waterford Crystal back to its native city.

UNITE wants to force the owners of the famous brand to stop making it abroad.

The union will take a test case to the registry of trademarks in Alicante in Spain, and it could end up at the European Courts of Justice.

Papers were lodged yesterday with the Spanish trademark registry, but it could be up to a year before there is an outcome.

More than 600 jobs were lost in 2009 when the company went into receivership. KPS later bought the Waterford Crystal brand and moved most of the manufacturing out of Ireland to Europe and South America.

Iconic

The union said it would challenge the use of the iconic trademark on glass that is not produced in Waterford.

UNITE national co-ordinator Walter Cullen said Champagne and Parma had successfully protected the link between their names and products made there.

In addition, Movenpick was recently prevented from making a link to Swiss chocolate, when production was actually taking place in Germany.

KPS Capital Partners' subsidiary, Waterford Wedgwood Royal Doulton, claimed it was committed to returning manufacturing to Waterford since it was formed in March 2009.

It noted that it had opened the House of Waterford Crystal in June 2010, following consultation with Waterford City Council and UNITE, which led to the creation of 120 jobs.

It said production at the House of Waterford Crystal had steadily increased since June 2010 and it was currently operating at full capacity, producing over 50,000 pieces a year.

However, it added there were no plans to extend this.

Irish Independent

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