Staff at two Waterford businesses were facing job insecurity this week, as it was announced that retail chain Barratts Shoes, which has a branch in City Square, had gone into receivership, while packaging firm Essentra were initiating a 30-day ‘consultation period’ on the future of their plant in the city .
The British company that operates Barratts Shoes retail chain has gone into ‘administration’, the equivalent of receivership, and a buyer is now being sought to save the business.
The Waterford store is one of 15 across the Republic and part of a 75-strong chain across Ireland and the UK. Joint administrators were appointed after a £7m rescue offer fell through last week. A new buyer for the company is being sought but redundancies cannot be ruled out, the administrators has said.
Meanwhile Essentra Packaging, which has had a presence in Waterford since 1979, has entered a 30-day ‘consultation period’ on the future of the plant on the Northern Extension of the city’s IDA industrial estate. It follows the company’s acquisition of Dakota Packaging in Dublin.
Trade union Unite say that the consultation period is with a view to transferring the plant’s operations to the Dublin-based operation. Forty-four full-time staff are employed at the Waterford plant.
UNITE official Brendan Byrne met with the workers last week and later described the possibility of closing the Waterford plant as “nothing less than an act of industrial vandalism”.
UNITE say that a programme of targeted investment in the plant could transform the company’s Waterford operation and will be arguing for this course of action