Waterford Crystal, seeking to cut its workforce by 490 at its local plant, is understood to have put a financial offer on the table and at four weeks’ pay for each of the first ten years of employment and three weeks thereafter, it represents by some considerable margin the lowest of all its redundancy packages over the last 20 years.
How UNITE, the main union involved, views the package can only be guessed at because its Regional Organiser Walter Cullen refused to comment. But it is believed to be gravely disappointed, as are the members concerned.
Mr. Cullen would only say that negotiations were continuing and a further session between management and union representatives was due today (Friday).
There had been speculation that the issue might have been referred to the Labour Relations Commission by now, but Mr. Cullen declined to say if or when that was likely to happen.
While the union is undoubtedly trying to persuade the company to reduce the job loss numbers and to squeeze the best possible deal for those who have to go, it is clear that the days of very generous settlements are in the past – the glass workers who availed of the first redundancy package back in 1987 were the envy of the country’s labour force, so favourable were the terms. But that was then and this is now and there is unlikely to be much room for manoeuvre around the figures set down by management.
The company has set March or early April as the target date for finalising a deal which would reduce to 500 the number on the payroll at Kilbarry.