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Barry O'Leary announced in January he is to step down from his position. Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
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Bausch and Lomb workers facing pay cuts should face 'stark reality' - IDA

The IDA’s chief says pay cuts are preferable to the multinational leaving.

THE CEO OF IDA Ireland has said that workers at the Bausch and Lomb plant in Waterford must face the “stark reality” that pay cuts have to be made to ensure the plant remains in the south-east.

Barry O’Leary told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that, after a merger last August, it was clear that the multinational was to cut 1,700 jobs globally and that it is now clear that 200 Irish jobs going are part of that restructuring.

Bausch and Lomb is currently the largest employer in the county, with just over 1,100 staff.

SIPTU has said that it is asking for a meeting with the company over the job cuts and threats of a 20% pay cut to the salaries of remaining staff.

Asked about whether the staff at the company could afford to take on pay cuts in the context of increasing property taxes and water charges, O’Leary said multinationals do not consider such local issues. His advice to workers is that the alternative would be worse:

I’d say its like everything, you have to weigh up what the options are. Unfortunately the stark reality of this is that if cost savings are not achieved then the operation will not be there. That’s the stark reality that people have to make the judgement call, however, bitter that pill may be to swallow.

“I’d urge people have to look to the medium-term future and long-term future, it has a huge impact in the south-east and it would be a tragedy to lose it,” he said.

“You have to look at what’s happening around the globe rather than locally, their global savings are going to be achieved no matter what, so the question is which facility and where the jobs losses will be.”

Bausch and Lomb Factories Bausch and Lomb plant in Waterford.

Final decision

O’Leary said it has been “public knowledge” that Bausch and Lomb were planning on cutting 15% of their global workforce and that the IDA have been working with the company over the last 10 months to try and protect the company’s Irish operation.

Their final plans only took shape in the last week, he said:

When you’re integrating an 11,000 person company with all their global operations, it takes a substantial amount of time for their plans to become solid so it’s only in the last couple of months that this process accelerated.

Their final decision was outlined last Wednesday.

“Two senior executives came form the states on Wednesday and laid out what their final plans were going to be, because up until then they’ve so many global operations they were doing many ‘what if’ scenarios,” he added.

Read: Waterford’s biggest employer is seeking as many as 200 redundancies >

Read: SIPTU for meeting with Bausch and Lomb over jobs and 20% pay cut >

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