Yet another blow was dealt to former Waterford Crystal workers this week, when over half of the funds due to them under a €10m payout from new owner KPS Partnership was taken in Government taxes and levies.
The €10m figure materialised last March as a result of negotiations between trade unions UNITE and TEEU and representatives of KPS, which purchased the assets of Waterford Wedgwood. The money was to have been distributed between the workers as decided by the union membership, but it emerged in recent weeks that KPS was refusing to pay the employer’s PRSI due on the sum. Hence that charge, along with their own PRSI (which they can claim back at the end of the tax year), PAYE and Government health and income levies, would be payable by the workers.
When the 800 workers received their cheques in the post last Monday, they were dismayed to discover that, effectively, the array of deductions from the initial €10m sum had more than halved the monies owed to them. For example, one worker with 35 years service to the company received a cheque for about €18,500 but only after he had paid over €9,000 in deductions.
At Monday night’s meeting of the City Council, the members unanimously passed a special motion calling on the Taoiseach and Tanaiste to ensure the €10m was paid in full, without deductions.
Cllr Jack Walsh said he, like so many others, was in a state of deep shock that the workers were expected to pay workers PRSI on the €10m fund. “How much can this workforce be expected to take?”
“This is a gross injustice and insult to people who worked for the
Glass all their lives and kept the
economy going in other difficult times. It is simply unacceptable that they are now being left high and dry.”
Seconding the motion, Cllr Davy Walsh said the deductions from the €10m effectively meant many people were having half of their money taken off of them. “This workforce have already contributed greatly to the country and it’s not good enough”, he concluded.
Echoing their sentiments, Mayor John Halligan added his distaste to the manner in which the workers had been treated. “There is great anger and distress out there and it is important that we send a message as a Council to support them.