SIPTU members employed by Bausch and Lomb will began a campaign of industrial action, in a pay dispute at the multinational company’s manufacturing plant in Waterford City, with a two-hour work stoppage today.
The strike commenced at 12.00 p.m. today because the union claims management has failed to give them enough of a pay rise as workers struggle with the cost of living crisis.
SIPTU Organiser, Allen Dillon, said: “This dispute is the result of management intransigence in relation to providing an adequate pay rise for workers in this highly profitable company.
"These workers need to achieve a pay increase that protects their standard of living and purchasing power.
"As with workers across the economy they face a cost of living crisis resulting from an inflation rate which is at its highest in a generation and soaring costs for other essential services.”
He added: “These workers are seeking to reach a reasonable pay agreement that recognises the sacrifices they have made over recent years to ensure the continued success of this plant.
"The campaign of industrial action will begin with the first in a series of two-hour work stoppages on Saturday during which pickets will be placed on entrances to the plant.”
SIPTU Sector Organiser, Neil McGowan, said: “There have been intensive negotiations involving SIPTU representatives and management at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in recent days.
"However, these did not result in the WRC being in a position to issue a proposal to resolve this dispute.
"We have yet to see an offer from the company that lives up to this commitment.”
Bausch and Lomb have reportedly said it has made a new and improved pay offer, but that SIPTU did not bring the proposal to its members for ballot.
SIPTU organises over 1000 workers employed in the manufacturing plant which produces contact lenses and other pharmaceutical products, as well as providing research and development and surgical support facilities.
Photo: IDA Ireland