City Councillor Mary Roche (Ind) has written to the Taoiseach demanding that Waterford Crystal pension payments be honoured. “I feel that the pensions problem is getting lost among all the issues facing the government at the moment”, she says, “and the glass workers do not deserve to be left worrying and stressed about their pensions for which they have saved all their working lives.”
She said that as well as fears that pensions would not be paid out, she was receiving a growing number of enquiries from men and women facing difficulties through not having received their redundancy payments.
Cllr Roche spoke of one young man who could no longer afford to pay rent and who wanted to get on the housing list because the receiver had ceased paying his redundancy money. Another in a similar situation had been trying to start his own business but was told he could not work at all as long as he was receiving unemployment assistance. “All these anomalies need to be sorted out and sorted out quickly”, she said.
“I know that keeping as many jobs as possible is important”, she said “and that Visitor Centre numbers are crucial to the region’s economy, but I think it is equally important to acknowledge that whoever takes over the company won’t be taking responsibility for the pension scheme and that is an issue for the government to tackle head on”.
Many ex-workers who have contacted Cllr Roche had paid into the pension scheme for a long time and some are due to start receiving their pension in the next few months or years as they reach the relevant age. “Those people have been told that there will most likely be nothing left in the pot for them”, she said. “That is simply not acceptable. If this pension scheme fails, after the workers doing exactly what was asked of them by government – investing in a pension scheme for their retirement – then why should any worker anywhere ever again invest in a pension scheme when the exact same thing could happen and the rug could be whipped from under them at a moments notice”, she asked.
“I am calling on Mr Cowen to give priority to this issue and come to the aid of Waterford Crystal pensioners. Their stress and worry is palpable”, she concluded.