Ireland: Workers occupy Waterford Crystal plant

Protect The Jobs: Nationalise Now!

The shocking announcement that Waterford Crystal should be closed forthwith has been met by workers occupying the plant. They are fully justified in this and should be supported by workers everywhere and by the official labour and trade union movement.

Waterford Glass should be nationalised and developed as a publicly owned company with the workforce brought to the very heart of the management and running of the company. On this basis it would be entirely possible to design and produce products which ordinary people could afford and would want.

The government should be reminded that manufacturing jobs are as important to this country as the banks. The idea that we can survive the massacre of manufacturing here in favour of some undefined ’smart’ economy smacks of insane recklessness.

It would be criminal negligence to allow Waterford Glass to be lost in the current economic maelstrom. Apart from the devastating blow to the hundreds of workers there are countless other jobs depending on the core design and production capacities at Waterford.

There is an irreplaceable treasure trove of craftsmanship, skills and experience embodied in the current cohort of workers in the Waterford plant. It would be criminal if this invaluable accumulation is thrown away by the closure of the operations in Waterford or reduced to a meaningless rump simply for the sake of cynically claiming an ongoing Irish link to the ’Waterford brand’.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions have already demanded the nationalisation of the banks and should now seek to have Waterford Glass taken into public ownership also to safeguard the jobs depending on it.

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February 2009