Protracted negotiations to determine the fate of Waterford Crystal were taking place in Dublin at time of going to press, with a final decision expected within days.

Deloitte receiver David Carson remains locked in discussion with both the John Foley-led Clarion Capital and equity firm KPS Capital, though it has been widely speculated that the latter investor is more likely to succeed with its takeover bid.

Though some members of the local business community believe neither sale will go ahead and Waterford Crystal is more likely to go into liquidation first, KPS has already spent €6.8m carrying out due diligence on the company and Bank of America, through KPS, has now offered Crystal workers a conciliatory gesture of a quarter of a week’s wages per year of service, on top of their statutory entitlements.

The Government is expected to provide up to €10m in support to the company’s new owner, though trade union UNITE officials have not yet received definite confirmation on how many local jobs can be saved. Sources have indicated that KPS will only proceed if it has the support of the union and promises to restart production at Kilbarry, for at least a year. Clarion Capital, meanwhile, has committed to a 300 employee, 10-year production plan and representatives of the firm are understood to have met with Government officials in Dublin on Tuesday to further discuss their proposals.

The employee sit-in at the manufacturing plant is ongoing, with about 80 staff members remaining on site at any one time. Meanwhile the 21 catering staff employed at the Kilbarry factory were enraged when they turned up for work on Monday to discover they had no jobs.

Campbell says it was informed last Friday by Mr Carson that a new service provider had been appointed and would be operating on site from Monday. Under Transfer of Undertakings legislation, catering staff automatically transferred to the new contract caterer, which was expected to be in operation on site from Monday. However there was no sign of any new contractor at the plant when they employees turned up for work. “Following termination of the contract on Friday last, Campbell Catering is no longer on site, has no access to Waterford Crystal and is not in any further discussions with the receiver”, the Campbell spokesperson said.