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Morgan meets Waterford Workers

2 February, 2009

Sinn Féin Enterprise, Trade and Employment Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD today led a Sinn Féin delegation to meet with Waterford Crystal Workers and trade union leaders. Deputy Morgan was joined by local Councillors David Cullinane and Joe Kelly.

Deputy Morgan said:

"My meeting today at the Waterford Crystal site with workers and trade union leaders was informative. I met with senior SIPTU Officials as well Jimmy Kelly of UNITE. The emphasis of the discussions was job retention as well as securing the workers company pension scheme.

"Government has a crucial role to play in this dispute therefore it cannot continue with a hand-off approach. The South East region has been ignored by successive Fianna Fáil led governments, the result of which has been the loss of 16,000 jobs and 10,000 people now on the live register in Waterford alone. Sinn Féin has repeatedly called on government to address increasing unemployment and the economic infrastructural deficit in the South East region. Our recommendations of what needs to be done have fallen on deaf ears.

"Workers at the factory today made a compelling case for keeping the factory open. Waterford Crystal remains relatively healthy with the products brand recognition remaining strong as exemplified by the 300,000 visitors to the Waterford Crystal Centre last year alone.
Waterford Wedgwood has a significant strategic importance for the South East and as an international Irish brand.

"Suggestions of potential buyers are encouraging however the receiver must work with the government to must ensure that the maximum numbers of jobs are retained and that the group's pension scheme is safeguarded. With over 8,000 pensions now under threat government cannot walk away from this responsibility.

"Following my discussions today some criticism must also be levelled at the receiver David Carson for his handling of last week's closure. It is my view that he has not shown the necessary stewardship required and that a more professional and cautious approach is required from him from this point on.

"The primary purpose of my visit to the site today was to extend Sinn Féin's solidarity with the Waterford Crystal workers and I am calling on people to support the workers by attending Wednesday's march in Waterford." ENDS

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