A new crux has arisen over the long awaited payout of €10m to former Waterford Crystal workers. The money materialised as a result of negotiations between the UNITE union and representatives of KPS which has purchased the assets of Waterford Wedgwood.

The money was to have been distributed between the workers as decided by the union membership. However, in the first instance, there was a row when it emerged that a sizeable group of employees, former rank and file members who had been promoted within the company, were to be excluded from a share of the money but that problem was resolved. 

But now a group of former employees, who had taken redundancy or who had signed up for redundancy, has received legal advice that they have first call on the €10m before it can be distributed. It is estimated that over 200 former workers fall into that category and approximately 70 people attended a meeting in the Mansion House pub on Tuesday night were they were addressed by a legal expert.

When the workers signed up for redundancy they received their statutory payments immediately but the rest of the redundancy money was being paid out to them on a weekly basis. Some were only a few months into that scheme when the company collapsed and they were told they would have to join the long queue of other creditors for the rest of their money which, in effect, meant they would get no more cash. 

But, according to the legal advice received, they have a case to claim that they have preferential rights over the €10m from KPS and the same applies to those people who had signed the redundancy forms but had not yet left the company.