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Cullinane congratulates Waterford Crystal workers

25 April, 2013 - by David Cullinane TD

Waterford senator, David Cullinane, has congratulated the former employees at Waterford Crystal, who have successfully argued in the European Court of Justice that the Irish Government failed to ensure their pensions were protected after the company went bankrupt.

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers’ Rights was speaking following the ECJ decision today, which ruled that the government had failed to give full effect to Insolvency Directive on pension entitlements in the event of company insolvency

Some 1,500 workers lost their jobs when the Waterford Crystal plant went bankrupt in 2009, however its pension fund was subsequently also found to be insolvent, and employees were told they would only receive between 18% and 28% of their full pension.

“The workers who took this case have today been vindicated. The company was clearly reckless in failing to ensure that their workers’ pensions were protected. It came as quite a shock to the workers to learn that they would only receive between 18% and 28% of their full pension, that they would not be entitled to their full pensions.

“However, there is also a responsibility on the government. There clearly should have been better protections for these workers, and in my view the government should never have challenged these workers in court; it added insult to injury.

“The court has found against the government, because it failed to properly implement the insolvency directive and this again highlights the very weak nature of protections for workers’ rights legislation in Ireland.

“The government must now stop fighting the workers and give them what they are owed, it is as simple as that.

“This also highlights the need for further legislation to be brought in, to fully implement the insolvency directive, and to ensure that the pensions of workers are protected in future.”

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