The Fianna Fáil spokesperson for Social Protection, Willie O’Dea TD has criticised the inordinate delay in finding an acceptable resolution to the Waterford Crystal pension dispute. Commenting almost 12 months on from the European Court of Justice’s ruling in favour of Waterford Crystal workers, Deputy O’Dea said it was unacceptable that workers were still left with no pension provision despite a positive ruling in Europe’s highest court.
“In 2009 the Waterford Crystal workers lost their jobs. This blow was compounded by the loss of their pensions. It is now five years on and despite the workers having asserted their rights in the ECJ, they are still waiting on the Irish state to step up to the plate. The workers’ pension entitlements have been built up over many years. The Minister’s refusal to engage with the workers, using the courts as a shield, is not only disappointing, it is reckless,” said Deputy O’Dea.
“The State has a responsibility under the EU’s Insolvency Directive to protect staff whose employers have become insolvent. That responsibility has been confirmed by the ECJ. The latest indications are that this issue won’t get a hearing in the High Court until June of this year. I cannot imagine the frustration of the Waterford Crystal workers at this time. It appears their British counterparts in Wedgewood have already had their pension entitlements confirmed by the British pension protection fund and have received 90% of the sums owed to them. I am calling on those with the ability to settle this matter to find an acceptable solution to this immediately.”