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Bausch & Lomb staff vote in favour of cost cutting measures

SIPTU staff voted in favour of the measures. TEEU members will vote tomorrow.

Image: James Horan/Photocall Ireland

STAFF AT BAUSCH & Lomb in Waterford have accepted proposals from management that could see 200 staff being let go – but a smaller pay cut than initially proposed.

The company said it welcomes the outcome of the ballot of SIPTU members on the proposals to secure the future of Waterford’s Bausch + Lomb facility.

“We recognise that this has been a difficult decision and we would like to express our sincere appreciation to the SIPTU members for this positive vote.”

The SIPTU members voted by 563 in favour to 157 against to accept cost saving proposals which management has stated will secure the long-term future of the plant, said the union.

Agreement

The agreement includes a wage reduction of 7.5% in basic pay; elimination of some bonuses; one hour added work per week; a reduction in in the Sick Pay scheme and an improved redundancy package for the 200 workers who will lose their jobs.

SIPTU Sector Organiser, Alan O’Leary, said:

These proposals were very difficult for our members to accept. However, enhanced compensation means that these cuts won’t be felt for some time. Also, a new gain sharing commitment from the company equivalent to 10% of savings on unit labour costs shared equally among workers provides an opportunity to mitigate the losses.

The union has been in intensive talks with the senior management from Valeant, the Bausch and Lomb parent company, since an announcement on Thursday, 29 May, that the future of the plant was in jeopardy unless there was major cost savings,.

The talks had moved to the Labour Relations Commission but an agreement was not reached.

The company’s final position was outlined in a proposal by the LRC recommending that both sides give it serious consideration.

At a general meeting of SIPTU members on Thursday, 12 June, it was decided to hold a ballot on the proposals.

O’Leary said they received a letter of commitment from Valeant CEO J Michael Pearson confirming that the company would not seek any more cuts.

He also provided a personal commitment to immediately invest in the Waterford plant if our members accepted the terms of the LRC proposal.

O’Leary said the union now publicly calls on Pearson to honour his commitment to immediately sign off on investment for Waterford. SIPTU will be writing to Pearson to seek confirmation of this investment.

Bausch & Lomb said today:

We also reiterate the commitments made last week by the Chairman and CEO of Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Mike Pearson, that if this deal is approved we will not ask for more concessions, and we will continue to invest in Waterford in the long term. Our preference has always been and remains to keep the Waterford plant open and viable in the future.

The TEEU ballot will take place tomorrow.

Originally published 6.21pm

Read: Bausch and Lomb workers to vote on plan to cut jobs and wages>

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