Sinn Fein Senator David Cullinane this afternoon met with the Vice President of Bausch and Lomb Angelo Conti to discuss the company's proposal to seek 200 redundancies and a pay cut of 20% for all staff. Senator Cullinane pressed Mr Conti on his engagement with the workers, the poor way the announcement was handled and what efforts were being made by Government to save jobs.
Speaking following the meeting Senator Cullinane said:
"This afternoon I held a 30 minute meeting with the Vice President of Bausch and Lomb Angelo Conti. I impressed upon him the importance of the company to Waterford, the stark jobs crisis in the city and county and the necessity to save as many jobs as possible.
"Mr Conti explained the rationale behind their announcement and the need to achieve savings to ensure the company remains viable. I challenged Mr Conti on his refusal to engage with the work force and their trade union SIPTU at an earlier stage. The company simply presented the workers with a fait accompli under a threat of closure. I appealed to him to negotiate in good faith with the union with an effort to save jobs and prevent pay cuts.
"Mr Conti was reluctant to say whether the figure of 200 job losses and a 20% pay cut was non negotiable. He said in overall terms savings had to be made and that this would ultimately come down to discussions with SIPTU."
"I also pressed him on the level of contact with Minister Bruton and the timing of the announcement. He said the Minister was informed of a rationalisation strategy months ago and that the Government agencies are supportive of the company. However he said no concrete proposals were made by Government as of yet. He also rejected a claim that the announcement was postponed due to the timing of the local and EU elections.
"I have contacted the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation seeking an urgent meeting. I have also written to the Chair of the Oireachtas Jobs Committee Damien English requesting that the Minister appear before the committee next week.
"The announcement of job losses and pay cuts in Bausch and Lomb is a disaster for the workers, their families and the local economy. Every effort needs to be made to save jobs. I fully support the union in their negotiations and wish them well.
"The Government need to act urgently and put in place high level interventions to help sustain and create jobs in Waterford. They must implement the South East Economic Development Strategy (SEEDS) with immediate priority given to the creation of a technological university for the Southeast."