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Thursday 22 February 2018

'It took its toll' - Mayo pensioner awarded €64k after working 19 overtime shifts in a row for pharmaceutical giant

Richard Steer with his wife Susan
Richard Steer with his wife Susan
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

A pensioner who worked 19 twelve-hour shifts in a row said that the overtime has “taken its toll” on his health.

Richard Steer (73) from Newport, Co Mayo sued Allergan Pharmaceuticals Ireland after he was “negligently” allowed to work excessive overtime.

Mr Steer, who worked as a janitor for the company for more than a decade, was awarded €64,000 in the High Court last October.

He claimed he was left with back injury as a result of having to use buffer/scrubbing machinery for heavy duty cleaning work over a protracted period of time and without any proper training.

Mr Steer told Independent.ie that he had a strong work ethic and never refused overtime.

“There were times I worked up to 36 hours overtime in a week. On one occasion, I worked 19 twelve-hour shifts in a row.

“Working overtime was a regular occurrence. I did it because I was asked to and I felt like it was my duty.

“I have always been a conscientious worker. I do what I can for my employer.”

Mr Steer said that the overtime took its toll and he was left with pains in his back.

“The job was quite physical. I was always on the go and had a lot of work to do. I had to keep the place very clean as it was a pharmaceutical company.

“It definitely took its toll. I suffer a lot with back problems now.”

Mr Steer, who moved from England to Newport 20 years ago, also worked for the Royal Navy as well as running his own pub.

“I’ve always been a hard worker. Now I do some carpentry and gardening when the weather is suitable.

“I’ll never retire. I like to do a little bit when I can. I always want to work.”

Allergan Pharmaceuticals Ireland declined to comment when contacted by Independent.ie.

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