Waterford meeting to discuss Bausch & Lomb jobs threat

The Bausch & Lomb plant in Waterford city.

SIPTU representatives will meet with local politicians in Waterford today in a bid to discuss threatened job losses at the Bausch & Lomb plant in the city.

The company, which manufactures contact lenses, is seeking 200 voluntary redundancies and a 20% wage cut for its remaining workers - or else it says the factory will close.

SIPTU, which represents 900 of the 1,200 people working at the plant, say it is unfair that staff have been given just two weeks to either accept or reject this deal.

"It's an unprecedented ultimatum," said SIPTU sector organiser Alan O'Leary.

"We are looking for local politicians to engage with government officials because we understand that for months Valeant, the parent company, were engaging with management and indeed the IDA and the minister.

"And unfortunately we've been given a two-week window to agree (to) these savage cuts.

"We believe that to be unrealistic."

Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane said there was "a lot of anger and fear" at the way the company had embarked on its rationalisation programm.

"It purposely excluded the workers and their Trade Union from earlier discussions," Senator Cullinane said.

"They have presented the workers with a fait accompli and with the added threat of closure if a deal is not accepted.

"Every effort must be made by Government and all Oireachtas members to save jobs and salaries at the Waterford plant."

The meeting will take place at 2pm in the Tower Hotel, Waterford.

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