Bausch and Lomb staff to vote on new pay deal

The new offer contains a pay boost of almost 10% over three years
Bausch and Lomb staff to vote on new pay deal

Eoghan Dalton

Staff at Bausch and Lomb in Waterford are to vote on a new pay deal in a bid to avert further strike action at the plant.

Terms of the agreement include pay increases of almost 10 per cent and restoration of bonuses.

Siptu members recently staged work stoppages at the contact lens maker to force a resolution after talks broke down at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

Both sides agreed to return to the WRC last week and received a proposal from the commission, which the union's thousand-strong workforce will now be balloted on.

Voting will begin on Monday and continue throughout the week until Saturday, July 2nd. Counting is expected to start on the same day.

The new deal contains annual pay increases over three years of 3 per cent, then 3.5 per cent and finally 3.25 per cent. If accepted, it will also see the return of bonuses worth €500 in July and November each year.

There is a proposal for an additional week of sick pay for staff who are with the company fewer than 10 years, while staff who have been with the company longer than that period will receive two additional weeks of sick pay.

Workers had suspended industrial action to facilitate the pay talks.

The previous deal had a pay increase of 10.8 per cent for workers on four-day shift cycles, but the union and staff insisted during the industrial action that staff on other shift cycles needed better terms.

Recession pay cuts

Meetings have been held throughout this week in the Mount Sion GAA Club to brief staff on the new terms being offered.

The dispute at the plant dates back to 2014, when workers accepted pay cuts as part of an attempt to secure the long-term viability of the company during the recession. Workers took on a 7.5 per cent reduction in basic pay, with some of their bonuses also being eliminated, while also working an extra hour of work a week but without pay.

The manufacturer employs over 1,600 people in Waterford.

Union members voted overwhelmingly for strike action in April, with industrial action kicking off earlier this month after the first round of talks at the WRC failed.

Siptu officials have warned that workers are facing a cost-of-living crisis due to inflation and that a pay increase at the company can no longer be avoided.

Siptu and Bausch and Lomb have been contacted for comment.

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