Bausch & Lomb plant to stay open after discussions with unions

19 Jun 2014

The decision to close the Bausch & Lomb pharmaceutical plant in Waterford has been reversed after discussions with union representatives and management agreed to a deal saving 200 jobs.

Both SIPTU (Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union) and the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union (TEEU) have confirmed that as part of the deal, workers’ wages and conditions will have to be greatly reduced but the Canadian manufacturers, one of the world’s largest in terms of contact lens production, have promised considerable investment in the plant in the coming years.

Speaking of the agreement, TEEU regional secretary Paddy Kavanagh, said, “The cuts to pay and conditions arising from these proposals are particularly harsh and will impact greatly on the workers affected.

“All eyes are on the company now, to ensure it lives up to its side of the bargain and that the promised investment will proceed, thereby ensuring the future viability of the plant. TEEU members are committed to working with the company to ensure the plant’s sustainability in Waterford and trust the company will honour its commitment to no further pay cuts.”

Ireland’s Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton welcomed the decision. “This is an extremely tough time for the workers at Bausch and Lomb and their families. The decisions they were faced with are extremely difficult.

“The vote by workers is by far the most difficult and important part of that process and I wish to pay tribute to and thank them in particular,” Bruton added.

Microscope image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic