5 May 2005 Edition

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Waterford Crystal axes 485 jobs

Management at Waterford Crystal has axed the jobs of 485 workers in their Dungarvan and Waterford City factories. The news is a devastating blow to the town of Dungarvan, where the factory will close and to Waterford City where the larger plant will also lose jobs.

The workers in Dungarvan were called to a meeting in a local hotel at 10am on Wednesday and told by management that their jobs were gone. There was anger there and in the City that this huge section of the workforce was to be jettisoned without any consultation or negotiation with their trade unions. Workers' representatives said that the redundancy package presented by management was totally inadequate. One worker told An Phoblacht:

"The redundancy package was presented as a fait accomplit and adds insult to injury. It is not fair recompense for the loss of jobs and for the long service of most of the workers who are being let go. A proper redundancy package will have to be negotiatplant in that year, 300 from Waterford Foods in 1998, 120 from Stafford Miller in 2002. "Smaller non-unionised factories have come in with workers on low pay," said Mansfield. "This town is now dangerously dependent on one company, Glaxo Smith Klyne, which employs 500."

Commenting on the job losses, Sinn Féin Waterford City Councillor David Cullinane stated:

"Waterford Wedgewood has callously dumped 485 workers in County Waterford with no consultation with their trade unions and no regard for the impact on the workers, their families and the economy of the region. The Government must also share responsibility. It has lionised the likes of Tony O'Reilly, non-Executive Chairman of Waterford Wedgwood, and fostered a corporate culture which can freely dump working people. The Government has also failed to protect existing jobs and to foster balanced economic development."

Sinn Féin Enterprise, Trade and Employment spokesperson, Arthur Morgan TD, raised the job losses in the Dáil on Wednesday. He said:

"This government has spawned numerous task forces in areas where jobs have been lost but most of these have turned out to be PR exercises.

"Workers in Waterford Crystal have raised serious questions about the role of management and their failure to properly market their products and to plan to retain jobs. While the jobs and massive salaries of senior management will be preserved the workers in County Waterford are to be sacrificed. I am calling on the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment to intervene."

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