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Avara staff wait on redundancy

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All 114 employees at Avara have been redundant while the workforce has set up a new company to maintain its supply to pharmaceutical companies.

Three redundancy phases have been carried out in a phased basis, they took place on September 30th, October 6th and October 11th but redundancy payments have yet to be made. The nature of which took place on a staggered basis as a new company called Eirchem was formed by employees.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, an employee representative outlined of Eirchem, “It will go forward and fulfil the needs of our customers, we had old customers that we supplied to, if those customers didn’t get those products they’d be in the same situation as ourselves they would be closing down”. United Metals now own the site but are renting the asset through Eirchem whose production plan will last between six to eight months manufacturing drug ingredients in particular for the use of Parkinson’s disease.

“Eirchem is going to operate on a specific production plan, everybody has got their finishing dates, the last person will leave here in July 2020, the first batch of people will leave at the end of March 2020, the second batch the end of April, the third batch of June and the last people will leave in July”.

Employees have thanked two Clare TDs, Joe Carey (FG) and Timmy Dooley (FF) for their assistance. Deputy Carey has tried to expedite the RP50 claims so workers receive their redundancy payment before Christmas. Comments made by Pat Breen (FG) that no European Globalisation Fund is needed for Clare has annoyed the Avara workforce. “There are no jobs like we have in Avara out there, I can get a job but it won’t keep me in the situation I’m in with my mortgage, payments, I wouldn’t be able to support the house I’m in now and it’s not an extravagant house by any means, I’m going to have review everything in six months when this end. The globalisation fund would be a great help to me”.

In August, workers told The Clare Echo they had been treated “with contempt and disregard”. A representative told The Clare Echo on Wednesday, “The situation has got worse if anything. We’re fighting for money that was removed from our wages for additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) for our pensions.

“There are three things in a pension, the employee contribution, the employer contribution and additional voluntary contribution. When the liquidator came on site, he said he wasn’t in a position to pay the employers contribution even though we were working for him because he needed us to keep the safe site, he didn’t have enough money to do it. We paid employee contributions and some of our people paid AVCs, those payments haven’t been made to our funds, not alone has that money not gone to our fund but we haven’t got the credit on our fund that it would built up over three months. As of today, that money still hasn’t hit our pension fund, it’s in KPMG’s account which is a big issue”.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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