Waterford workers stage protest at Deloitte offices

 

Waterford Wedgwood workers staged a protest for several hours at the offices of Deloitte & Touche in Dublin earlier today.

About 12 Waterford Wedgwood workers entered the reception area of Deloitte & Touche’s headquarters on Earlsfort Terrace in protest at the actions of Deloitte partner David Carson, who was appointed as a receiver to the ailing glassware company last month.

Mr Carson took the decision to close Waterford's Kilbarry plant on Friday prompting a sit-in protest by workers.

Union Unite, which represents the workers, said today’s protest was designed bring to the attention of those 1,100 people who work for Deloitte in Ireland the poor manner in which Mr Carson and their company have handled the situation in Waterford Crystal since last Friday.

When the workers first entered the Deloitte building at 11am this morning they were told by security personnel to leave and that they were trespassing.

At one stage gardaí were called to remove the protesters but following a meeting between two Waterford workers and senior partners at Deloitte, at which the workers registered their dismay at the actions of Mr Carson, the protest ended.

Waterford worker Tom Hogan said the protesters represented a cross section of the workforce and had come up to Dublin to make a protest and “to say we are not human waste that can be set aside when we are surplus to requirements."

Speaking after the meeting with senior partners Pat Cullen and David Deasy at Deloitte, Mr Hogan said: “We left them in no doubt as to how we feel about the actions of their partner David Carson in dumping 480 people.

“We put it to them that Deloitte is interested in one thing only, making it [Waterford Crystal] as attractive as possible to who they sell it to and to increase their own fee.

“They have absolutely no concern for individuals or families that are suffering as a result of this. We’ve made our protest here today we’ll be returning to Waterford now to join our colleagues in the factory to continue the occupation.

“We emphasised to them we won’t be going away anywhere soon…we are in for the long haul.

“If no prospective buyer turns up we expect this Government to take this into public ownership on behalf of the people of the south east region and of the country.”

More than 700 workers were employed at the plant until Friday, 480 of them in manufacturing.

Workers staging the sit-in have been operating a rota system with up to 100 people remaining in the plant at any given time.

In a statement before the protest, Unite regional organiser Walter Cullen said “It will be a peaceful demonstration. We will not be employing private security forces to ‘protect’ us as the receiver shamefully did in Waterford.”

“The sit in at Waterford was a direct result of David Carson’s action in closing the plant with no discussion, no contact or no respect for the working people who generated sales of €180 million for the company in the United States alone last year.

“Maintaining the plant as a going concern is essential to keep hope alive in the bids that have been made. If Deloitte is not willing to do that then we will,” he said.