Staff at Avara in Shannon “are being totally and utterly abused by management” in their attempts to secure a fair redundancy package.
Talks at the Workplace Relations Commission are ongoing between SIPTU representatives and the liquidators. In July, Avara was granted permission by the High Court to appoint administrators to the Shannon company but it emerged that there was no money for the company to fund a redundancy scheme.
At Monday’s meeting of Clare County Council, Cathaoirleach Cllr. Cathal Crowe requested the local authority support the employees in “their campaign to achieve a fair redundancy package” and to request UCB, the previous owners “to honour their corporate social responsibility charter and pay its ex-workers redundancy”. The Shannon workers were attempting to put a short plan in place for production which Cllr Crowe gave his backing to.
Dozens of workers from the pharmaceutical plant were in the Chamber for the meeting. Crowe suggested money be drawn from the EU’s Globalisation Adjustment Fund to offer necessary financial support to the employees, he maintained Co Clare had a case for such aid given affairs in Roche and Moneypoint.
Killaloe representative Cllr Tony O’Brien felt it was “A huge inditement on us as a society that we turn our back on workers. These companies are welcomed into Ireland, indeed they are very welcome but it shows that various Governments over the years have not put workers at the core of their policies”. He added, “There has to be legislation put in place that any company coming into this country to recruit skilled workers that the workers be protected into the future”.
“It goes without saying these staff are being totally and utterly abused by management. Some of the management have a chequered past but the workers have been 100% percent. It’s a very weak law to say these workers are not entitled to any protection. I know well that these workers are entitled to a decent redundancy package, I would prefer to see them working than to get a redundancy package,” Cllr PJ Ryan claimed.
Cllr Pat Daly described the situation as “a disgrace”, Fine Gael’s Johnny Flynn added “It is the least this company can do, to treat their workers fairly”. “We can be guaranteed that this company has made plenty of money and now they have decided to bail out. It is heartbreaking that they will get away with this in this day and age,” Cllr Mary Howard stated.
Potential environmental risks were flagged by Cllr Paul Murphy with Independent Michael Begley demanding “Workers should be paid a proper and fair redundancy”. The longest serving employee with Avara in Shannon has been there for 33 years.