Bausch and Lomb talks end without agreement

By Conor Kane

Workers at the giant Bausch + Lomb pharmaceutical plant in Waterford will tonight be briefed by their union leaders following the break-up without agreement of talks on the future of the company.

The fate of over 1,100 staff at the contact lens-maker hangs in the balance after the failure of the Labour Relations Commission to put a set of agreed proposals to SIPTU and the TEEU after marathon negotiations with management of Bausch + Lomb.

However, the company has “modified” its starting position which sought almost 200 redundancies and pay reductions of 20pc for remaining staff.

It’s understood a similar level of job cuts is still envisaged by management but the scale of pay cuts has been reduced.

SIPTU had described the possibility of 20pc cuts in salaries as “unsustainable”.

The negotiations, which started last Monday week and have gone through the night on a number of occasions this week, were convened after the company’s shock announcement that it wanted to cut payroll costs by about €20 million in Waterford.

According to a statement issued by management of the US-based multi-national, the cuts were necessary to save the Waterford facility which is the largest private sector employer in the southeast.

The negotiations between SIPTU, the TEEU and management, which were chaired by the LRC, ended this morning without agreement.

However, it’s understood the LRC is currently finalising a “modified” management position which will be put to staff tonight.

A meeting of SIPTU members at Bausch + Lomb has been arranged for 7pm in the factory canteen while a TEEU meeting is also scheduled.

In a statement, SIPTU organiser Alan O’Leary said: ”It was not possible for the Labour Relations Commission, which was facilitating the talks, to present an agreed set of proposals to union representatives.

“The Labour Relations Commission will provide the unions with the final position of the management in writing. As soon as the document becomes available it will be circulated to members.”

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