Support workers occupying Waterford Glass

Date:

Workers have been occupying the Waterford Glass factory in Kilbarry for five days now after the receiver was unable to borrow further funds to keep the plant operating. Yesterday as 150 workers continued the occupation members of the Cork WSM visited the plant and interviewed Joe Kelly, the chairman of the Crystal Unite branch. The Cork branch later issued a statement in support of the occupation.

The closure threatens not only the 700 jobs at and around the plant but if it had proceeded as planned by the receiver would have threatened their redundancy payments. Many workers have already discovered there is not the money in the company pension fund to cover their pensions. Last October the fund was 111 million euro in the red, a situation that can only have got worse since. Although one of the bids for the plant, that of Clarion Capital, would see some jobs being saved there is a danger these would be at greatly reduced pay and conditions. The author of the other bid, KPS, seems only interested in the "group’s intellectual property assets, which would include its brand names, product designs and manufacturing processes".

 

Statement by Cork WSM in support of Waterford Glass Occupation

The Waterford Glass workers have taken a stand. At a time when 'talks' and more 'talks' are leading to huge concessions for us workers - be that in the private sector or in the public sector - they have said enough! On Friday, very publically and with determination, the reacted to the threats and lies of the receiver appointed by Waterford Wedgewood, and seized the plant and offices at Kilbarry in Waterford city. The Workers Solidarity Movement salutes their stand and offers then full solidarity and support.

In the last while there has been an unprecedented assault on our living standards. Huge numbers of us have been put out of jobs or put on short time; we have been told bluntly 'Take a pay cut or your job is gone'. Our union leadership has reacted to this with offers of talks and with appeals for calm. While doing this they have leaned over backwards to meet the demands of the bosses and the Government. Against this scenario, the Waterford Glass workers have said NO MORE. The time for talking with your hands tied behind your back are over! Workers did not create this crisis and they sure aren't going to pay the huge price that is being asked to solve it!

The WSM is mindful of the reality that the Waterford Glass workers in Kilbarry are in very difficult situation. Their jobs are on the line and a blatant attempt has been made to rob them of not just of these jobs but also of any outstanding monies that are due to them. It is very clear also that the future for huge numbers of workers and their families are on the line here. This is an example of where solidarity can count and can make all the difference. It is crucial now that we build and show as much support as we can for the action of these workers. It is also vital that rank and file workers mobilise to help extend this action. We urge the following as a priority:

· Send message of support to the workers at Kilbarry F: +353-(0)51-332716
· Organise collections and send a delegation to visit the occupation
· Organise a solidarity protest where you live.
· Raise the issue in your union or college.

Interview with Joe Kelly, Chairman of UNITE in Waterford Crystal

Members of the Cork branch of the Workers Solidarity Movement travelled to Waterford to offer solidarity support to the occupying workers. While there we took the opportunity to do an interview, asking the kind of questions that fellow workers and readers of Indymedia might be interested in, and also took some photos.

Download the MP3 file here: http://www.indymedia.ie/attachments/feb2009/wsm_waterford_crystal.mp3

There's a rally in Waterford, this Wednesday at 4pm. Please see the event notice for more details: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/90940

In the interview Joe Kelly calls for similar solidarity demonstrations across the country.

Roosters to organise all aspects of the plant occupation

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