Saturday 24 February 2018

Staff to vote on plan to axe 200 at Bausch and Lomb

Employees of Bausch & Lomb. Picture: Picture: Patrick Browne
Employees of Bausch & Lomb. Picture: Picture: Patrick Browne

Conor Kane

OVER 1,100 workers at Bausch and Lomb are expected to vote early next week on a series of cuts which would see almost 200 of them losing their jobs.

Staff were briefed last night on a "modified" set of proposals by management who want to implement tough cost-cutting measures which the company says are necessary to save the Waterford plant.

Bosses still want to shed nearly 200 jobs, but have agreed to reduce pay cuts from 20pc to 7.5pc, although staff members said the 7.5pc cut is to core pay and when other cuts, such as the loss of bonus payments, are taken into account they will lose almost 15pc.

Emotions ran high at last night's meeting of SIPTU members, which lasted more than an hour and a half and was attended by hundreds of employees at the company canteen.

A vote on the package presented by management and believed to be their final offer is likely to be taken on Sunday and Monday.

A meeting was also held of TEEU members.

Meanwhile, a meeting will take place today between union representatives and local politicians in an attempt to keep political pressure on the government to do more for the staff.

Talks between unions and management, chaired by the Labour Relations Commission, broke down without agreement yesterday morning after a second successive all-night session.

According to Bausch and Lomb's American bosses, the €20m cuts are necessary to keep the plant open as payroll costs were running 30pc higher than in the company's facility at Rochester, New York.

SIPTU sector organiser Alan O'Leary said after the meeting last night that workers are in a "very difficult situation" and need time to consider the company's latest proposals.

Cuts to core pay would be "a very difficult ask" for employees to accept, he said.

The company has given unions a deadline of next Tuesday, June 17, to accept or reject the plans.

Irish Independent

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