Intervention ruled out in Wellman dispute


THE Minister for Enterprise and Employment has expressed "grave concern" that the Wellman Inc plant in Mullagh, Co Meath, may close down permanently if an early resolution is not found to the 11 week strike.

Mr Bruton made his comments last night after the president of SIPTU, Mr Edmund Browne, had briefed the Labour Court on the dispute which threatens to close the synthetic fibre plant with the loss of 500 jobs. Wellman is the largest employer in the north Meath and Cavan area.

Ruling out Government intervention in the dispute, Mr Bruton said. "The responsibility for finding a solution lies with the parties. Provided local expectations are lowered, there could be the basis for progress."

The 260 SIPTU production workers on strike are seeking a 12 per cent pay rise, while the company is only prepared to offer the 5.2 per cent recommended by the Labour Court earlier this year. About 230 other Wellman employees are laid off as a result of the strike.