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The Bausch and Lomb plant
The Bausch and Lomb plant
Image: James Horan

Bausch and Lomb workers to vote on new pay deal after 'intensive' talks yesterday

Industrial action at the plant was suspended on Wednesday to facilitate the talks.
Jun 18th 2022, 8:04 AM 12,901 14

WORKERS AT THE Bausch and Lomb manufacturing plant in Waterford are set to ballot on a new pay deal in a bid to resolve an ongoing pay dispute, after industrial action was taken last weekend.

Intense negotiations between Bausch and Lomb management and Siptu took place last night, with a set of new pay proposals being put forward by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

In a statement this morning, Siptu Sector Organiser Neil McGowan said: “Following twelve hours of intensive negotiations today, the WRC has issued a set of proposals that we will bring to a ballot of our members.”

“As union organisers and shop stewards will be briefing members next week on the detail of the proposals, we will be making no further comment on them at this time.”

Bausch and Lomb have also issued a statement, saying that there was “extensive engagement” between management and the union.

“Following extensive engagement between the parties, under the auspices of the Workplace Relations Commission, a proposal has been recommended for acceptance by both parties which will be put forward for employees to ballot on in the coming days.”

Earlier this week, workers suspended industrial action at the manufacturing plant to facilitate the pay talks.

The pay dispute dates back to 2014, when workers accepted pay cuts as part of an attempt to secure the long-term viability of the company. Workers took on a 7.5% reduction in basic pay, with some of their bonuses also being eliminated, while also working an extra hour of work a week but without pay.

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The contact lens manufacturer employs over 1,600 people, of whom 1,00 are members of Siptu.

Union members voted overwhelmingly for strike action in April, with industrial action kicking off last Saturday after the first round of talks at the WRC failed.

Its representatives have warned that workers are facing a “cost-of-living crisis” due to inflation and that a pay increase can no longer be avoided.

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Tadgh McNally

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