Talks aimed at breaking the deadlock over Waterford Crystal’s demand for 492 redundancies resumed at Faithlegg House Hotel on Tuesday and were set to continue on Thursday.
There has been stalemate through several weeks’ of management-union negotiations, chaired by Labour Relations Commission facilitator Kevin Foley. That situation has left both sides frustrated, so much so in the company’s case that it is believed to have threatened “horrendous” short time from Easter.
Although the threat was subsequently withdrawn it is understood to have left the workers fearful that such measures will be implemented if a solution is not found.
This week’s negotiations are thought to be critical and if the impasse is not overcome the matter will likely go to the Labour Court. When announcing last November a rationalisation plan which also involves outsourcing of certain products, management indicated that it wanted agreement by April at the latest.
Meanwhile, a general gathering of the workers in The Forum on Monday was informed of the up-to-date position. About 300 attended the meeting which was addressed by UNITE District Officer Walter Cullen, Union Chairman at the factory Pat Fitzgerald and Senior Convenor Tony Kelly.
A call went out for CEO John Foley to involve himself directly in the negotiations. And there was strong opposition from the floor to the idea of “short time”, speakers saying they had enough of that over the years and it had solved nothing.
There was criticism of the manner in which 70 contract workers were let go in recent weeks and demands for improved financial packages – on a par with settlement terms for redundant staff at the Dungarvan factory over two years ago – for the permanent workers who would inevitably lose their jobs.