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Here to stay: Bausch + Lomb to invest €6mn in Waterford plant after staff pay cut

Following union negotiations, staff agreed to a 7.5% reduction in basic pay.

BAUSCH + LOMB are to invest about €6 million in its Waterford plant to demonstrate their commitment to the site after the recent dispute brought its retention into question.

Staff are being informed of the investment today which will see packing and inspection systems at the contact lens manufacturer updated.

Last month the company announced that it was reducing its 1,100 strong workforce by 200 people and implementing pay cuts of 20%.

Following union negotiations, staff agreed to a 7.5% reduction in basic pay, the elimination of some bonuses, an extra hour in work per week, and a reduction in the sick pay scheme.

B+L’s vice president of manufacturing Angelo Conti met with unions and management at the plant today saying that the cost reduction deal has allowed them to give the green-light to the investment and “develop into the future”.

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton released a statement from a trade mission in Shanghai welcoming the investment. He said that it is the ‘latest step’ in ensuring the long-term future of the Bausch + Lomb facility.

Siptu has welcomed today’s announcement.

“Our members made a very difficult decision last week to sacrifice some of their income in order to secure a future for the plant,” said organiser Alan O’Leary.

“This was a courageous and brave decision by the workers. In many respects it was a significant leap of faith by the workers in the hope that the parent company would reciprocate and invest in their futures.”

The union hopes to enter talks with the firm to reduce the number of proposed voluntary redundancies. It would like to secure a position whereby any improved market conditions would be taken into account over the two year period.

Read: IDA promises to help Bausch & Lomb as workers vote for massive cuts >

Read: Bausch & Lomb staff vote in favour of cost cutting measures >

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Rónán Duffy

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