A steep rise in short-time is in the pipeline at Waterford Crystal unless a hundred more workers volunteer for redundancy over the next month or two, this newspaper understands. And there’s an obstacle to that target in that pay-offs will have to be part-delayed on account of the government’s refusal to provide a State-guaranteed loan of €39 million, sought by the company.

As it is all of the employees face three weeks off work, on a staggered basis, over the remainder of the year.

A meeting of the workers is scheduled for The Forum this Wednesday evening (5 pm), at which the UNITE union will report on a meeting it had last Thursday with management who presented proposals for redundancy payment methods.

Under what it describes as a restructuring plan, the company is seeking to lay off 490 members of staff altogether, cutting the payroll at Kilbarry to little more than 500. So far only fifty, mainly general operatives, have taken redundancy packages which average out at about four weeks’ pay per year of service, twice the statutory requirement.

We understand that those who have gone did so with some of their redundancy in their pockets and with letters guaranteeing the balance over a period of time.

UNITE official Walter Cullen is refusing to comment on the situation until after Wednesday’s meeting.