Unite welcomes resolution of long-running Waterford Crystal pensions case

JimmyPositive outcome illustrates value of collective action, union to recommend acceptance

Families of deceased workers will also benefit

December 9th: Trade union Unite today welcomed the Cabinet decision to approve a settlement of the long-running Waterford Crystal pensions dispute mediated by LRC chief executive Kieran Mulvey. In addition to a lump sum payment of €1,200 per year of pensionable service, the proposed settlement will see former workers receiving an average of 82 per cent of their entitlements, including the amounts previously distributed by the schemes. The families of deceased workers will also benefit from the terms of the settlement.

Commenting, Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said:

“Following last year’s European Court of Justice ruling, which found that the State’s failure to institute a system of pension protection represented a breach of its obligations under the EU Insolvency Directive, the case has again been winding its way through the courts, and was due for hearing in the High Court on January 13th.

“Thanks to the intervention of the LRC, and in particular LRC chief executive Kieran Mulvey, we now have a settlement which secures a large proportion of our members’ pension entitlements. While today’s good news comes too late for 34 workers who have since died, Unite is very pleased that their families will also benefit from the settlement.

“Unite and our members have travelled a difficult road since the closure of Waterford Crystal in 2009 – a road that has taken us from the High Court to the European Court of Justice, back to the High Court and finally the Labour Relations Commission.

“The settlement now negotiated by Unite represents a landmark victory not only for our own members, but for the trade union movement.

“Today’s announcement is not only good news for the workers, but also for the economy in Waterford and beyond.

“The lump sum payments totalling €41 million will represent a mini-stimulus for Waterford, with most of this money likely to be returned to the economy through higher consumer spending.  This will be a welcome boost to business turnover and employment.

“Once again, today’s outcome illustrates the value of trade union membership. Workers as individuals could never have pursued a case like this. Unite would also like to take this opportunity to thank ICTU General Secretary David Begg for his support, and SIPTU who provided support for our case in the European Court of Justice.

“This is a good deal for the former workers and their families, for the Waterford economy and for the Exchequer, and Unite will be recommending acceptance at a members’ meeting scheduled for Saturday”, Jimmy Kelly concluded.

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