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Thursday 22 February 2018

Richard Bruton under fire over job losses at firm

SIPTU vice president Patricia King
SIPTU vice president Patricia King

Sam Griffin

THE country's largest trade union has criticised Jobs Minister Richard Bruton following the loss of 200 jobs at contact lens manufacturers Bausch and Lomb in Waterford.

Siptu vice president Patricia King has written to Mr Bruton, inset, head of the IDA Barry O'Leary and Forfas chief executive Martin Shanahan demanding an "urgent meeting" to discuss the job losses and plans to impose a 20pc pay cut.

The company, one of the largest employers in the south-east, was in discussions with the minister and the IDA for a number of weeks before Thursday's shock announcement.

In addition to the job losses, the company issued an ultimatum to the 900 remaining workers which gave them the choice of accepting pay cuts or being made redundant.

In her letter to Mr Bruton, Ms King said the fact officials from his department had met with the company but at no stage informed the union had added to workers' concerns.

In a separate letter to the IDA chief executive, Ms King criticised Barry O'Leary for encouraging the workers to consider the pay cuts.

She said the company's "disastrous proposals" would have a devastating impact on workers, their families and people across the south-east.

A spokesperson for the minister said last night: "The minister has been working for some time to try to protect as many jobs as possible in the Bausch and Lomb facility."

Bausch and Lomb said it wanted to bring the cost base of the operation closer to that in Rochester, New York, where wages are over 30pc lower.

Meanwhile, 125 jobs have been created by a medical device manufacturer at a new facility in Carrick-on-Shannon and Roosky in Co Leitrim. The jobs, are part of a €7m investment by Vistamed.

Irish Independent

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