Crisis talks under way between Bausch + Lomb management and Siptu

Company looking for 200 job cuts and 20 per cent pay-cuts to keep facility open

Bausch & Lomb management announced they would be starting a two-week “consultation process” today and that has got under way at Faithlegg House Hotel outside Waterford City.

Bausch & Lomb management announced they would be starting a two-week “consultation process” today and that has got under way at Faithlegg House Hotel outside Waterford City.

 

Crisis talks are underway in Waterford between management from the pharmaceutical giant Bausch + Lomb and representatives from SIPTU over the future of the company which employs more than 1,100 people in the southeast.

The discussions follow last week’s announcement by Bausch + Lomb that it needs to cut about 200 jobs and implement 20 per cent pay-cuts in order to keep its Waterford facility open.

Management also announced they would be starting a two-week “consultation process” today and that has got underway at Faithlegg House Hotel outside Waterford City.

However, union representatives hope the talks will provide some leeway regarding the level of job losses and wage cuts, and that some compromises can be reached.

SIPTU area organiser Alan O’Leary is leading the union delegation in the negotiations, which are understood to have started at about 9am this morning.

Bausch + Lomb was taken over by Canadian-based multinational last October in a $8.7 billion deal and at least two senior management personnel have travelled to Waterford for the consultation process, joining local management.

SIPTU has already described the 20 per cent pay-cut proposed by the company as “unsustainable for workers”.

The union met local Oireachtas members yesterday at the Tower Hotel in Waterford and asked them to keep pressure on the government to try and reduce the cuts which will be implemented in Waterford.

Bausch + Lomb is the largest private sector employer in the southeast and SIPTU has said that complete closure of the Waterford plant would be “catastrophic” for the region.

However, management warned last week that payroll costs are running at 30 per cent higher in Ireland than at its base in Rochester, New York, and these needed to be brought more in line in order to maintain the Waterford factory.