While the crisis within the pig industry is rightly being treated with the utmost seriousness, a local councillor can’t help but contrast the Government’s urgency of recent days with the treatment of PAYE workers such as those in Waterford Crystal.
With talk of compensation packages for affected farmers and processors, “likewise there is no shortage of money to bail out the banks from the mess that was created by themselves,” Joe Kelly asserts.
The City Councillor, who works in the Kilbarry ‘glass factory’, said: “I’m wondering why is it when employees at Waterford Crystal needed assistance from the government to keep the company going and save close on 1,000 jobs, nothing could be done.
“Likewise for workers losing their jobs in other companies nothing can be done. Are we second-class citizens, have we not paid taxes for years while working, thus supporting the state coffers?” he asks.
Saying he’s “sick to the teeth being told by government that nothing can be done to help the workers in Waterford Crystal and other companies facing redundancies,” Cllr Kelly added: “As far as I’m concerned the jobs in Waterford Crystal are as important as any other job in the country but that’s not how this government is treating the workforce. Assistance is available for the banks, the pig processors, the farmers, etc – just about everyone except PAYE workers”.
Pointing out that “workers losing their jobs have families to provide for, have mortgages to pay, are facing mounting bills and are under great stress at this time of year,” Cllr Kelly noted that MABS Waterford has seen an increase of 80 percent in calls to their money advice and budgeting service “yet nothing is being done by government to assist all these people.
“It is disgraceful that the PAYE worker is thrown to the wolves while banks, pig meat processors and other powerful groups are taken care of by their friends in government,” he said, “demanding immediate fair play and justice for the PAYE worker from this failed government.”
Today FM ‘Last Word’ presenter Matt Cooper made much the same point on his programme on Tuesday, asking “what’s the difference” between a bail-out for the meat industry “and Waterford Crystal, which is on its knees.”
In May the Government turned down Waterford Crystal’s request to have a loan of €39m underwritten by the State after taking advice from consultants. The company has since announced mass lay-offs from the new year, which will leave only 80-100 jobs at Kilbarry between the tourist trail and offices.