Waterford management criticised over job losses

AS union leaders prepare to meet senior management at the troubled Waterford Crystal plant this morning, local councillors have been voicing their dissatisfaction with the way the 480 job cuts were announced last week.

At yesterday’s meeting of the county council there was also severe criticism of management at the plant for offering no alternative but a complete closure of the Dungarvan facility from the end of the summer.

Labour’s Billy Kyne said the developments reflected very poorly on management at the plant. He said the staff had always been the ones to bend over backwards in crisis situations, being flexible and innovative and piloting robotics at the plant.

But he said management offered no other solution but a complete close-down in Dungarvan. “In this day and age, for someone to act like a boss of the 1920s is inexplicable,” he said.

He said that the people of Dungarvan have suffered jobs blows in the past and recovered. He hoped this would happen in this situation.

“This town has a record of getting over set-backs. We are not inclined to cry into our beer. But we need help. The town council and the county council need to have a say in the future for this town. We don’t want experts coming in telling us what we should do,” he added.

Fine Gael’s Brendan Mansfield described the management as “a disgrace”, adding that they casually tried to dump out 480 workers without regard for them or the economy.

“The Government has to share some responsibility here. But this factory is not gone yet and the union are going to fight on their knees to keep the Dungarvan plant open,” he vowed.

Cllr Tom Higgins, Fine Gael, was also critical of the way the redundancies were announced and said the company seemed to have no Plan B, other than closing Dungarvan.

“The announcement showed very little foresight and was a total guillotine job,” he said.

County Manager, Ray O’Dwyer, said the staff in Dungarvan had always been very flexible and highly involved in research and development. He said there was a future for those offered redundancy and that he had met with statutory agencies only last Friday to put in place an inter-agency forum, including representatives from the local VEC, the IDA, FÁS, Leader and Waterford County Council.

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