Fianna Fáil’s Spokesperson on Jobs Dara Calleary has accused the Government of allowing politics take precedent over the welfare of staff at Bausch and Lomb in Waterford.

Deputy Calleary has said it is alarming that the Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton knew about impending job losses at the Waterford plant for months but failed to intervene or inform the Dáil.

“By sitting on this information until after the local and European elections Minister Bruton was clearly putting politics before people.  We are talking about large-scale job losses directly effecting hundreds of people and with the potential to devastate to the Waterford economy.  And yet Minister Bruton didn’t see fit to intervene or inform the Dáil,” said Deputy Calleary.

“The staff at Bausch and Lomb are being treated appallingly.  Not only have they been let down by the Government, those whose jobs are not being cut right away are now being threatened with huge pay cuts.  The workers have been put in a terrible position of accepting a new salary that’s simply not enough to pay the bills, or losing their jobs entirely.  It’s devastating for staff and their families.

“I want to know what Minister Bruton is doing now to support the staff and to salvage as many jobs as possible at the company.  Bausch and Lomb is one of the largest employers in the South East, providing valuable employment in Waterford for more than three decades. It plays a vital role in the local economy and everything must be done to secure its future there and ensure that the staff are treated properly.

“It’s hard to escape the conclusion that Minister Bruton’s focus has been on his own performance in the local and European elections and not on the crisis at Bausch and Lomb.  The Minister is quick to release boastful statements about job creation during election times, but not so quick to act when jobs at risk.  We now need to see decisive action from the Government to support the staff at Bausch and Lomb.”