Waterford Crystal workers to benefit from resolution of €1.3m dispute

More than 380 Waterford Crystal workers will benefit following the resolution of a dispute concerning a surplus of €1.28m held in a fund to cover disability benefits, the High Court heard today.

More than 380 Waterford Crystal workers will benefit following the resolution of a dispute concerning a surplus of €1.28m held in a fund to cover disability benefits, the High Court heard today.

The settlement was approved by Mr Justice Peter Kelly, who described the agreement as "a rare bit of good news" coming from the court.

The workers, represented by the UNITE trade union, had brought proceedings aimed at having the surplus held in a Income Continuance Contribution Scheme, known as the Waterford Crystal Disability Scheme No 3, paid to those who had contributed to but had not claimed for disability benefits under the scheme.

The action was against Waterford Crystal Ltd (In receivership) and Waterford Crystal (Manufacturing) Ltd (In receivership) who were acting through the receiver Mr David Carson of Deloitte Ireland, and Irish Life Assurance, who managed the scheme.

The receiver had argued that the surplus should be retained by the company. However the workers, who were all employed at the company at the time of Mr Carson's appointment in January 2009, also sought a declaration that the receiver was not entitled to any part of the €1.3m surplus.

The court heard that following research by the parties the best estimate was the workers paid 62% of all contributions to the scheme while the employer made 38% of all contributions to the scheme.

Today at the Commercial Court the big business division of the High Court Mr Justice Kelly was told that under the terms of the settlement the workers will receive 62% of the surplus (€766,437), which is to be retained and distributed by UNITE while 38% of the surplus (€488,000) will go to the second named defendant Waterford Crystal.

Some 382 individuals workers have been identified as having an entitlement to a share of the surplus.

They have authorised UNITE to enter into the settlement agreement.

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