Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald officially opened the €85 million extension of global eye health company, Bausch and Lomb, in Waterford on Monday morning. The company has announced, it will hire a further 125 people at its Waterford facility.
The Waterford facility, which manufactures contact lenses and other pharmaceutical products, has been in operation since 2015, and currently, employs 1,300 people.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, the parent company of Bausch and Lomb, has invested over €200 million in the Waterford facility’s operations and infrastructure to date.
“Bausch and Lomb and its parent company Valeant are to be commended for their commitment to the southeast region,” said Varadkar.
Fitzgerald echoed Varadkar’s statement and said that the project is “a terrific boost for the southeast”.
“This company has been a huge employer in the city for several decades and their latest investment highlights their ongoing commitment,” she said.
“Being in a regional location gives this project added significance and dovetails with the government’s work in strengthening the industrial base and job creation in regional centres, in order to achieve balanced economic growth.”
However, the same facility in Waterford was subject to an industrial dispute last December. Siptu members at the facility issued a notice that they were planning industrial action because the management had not fully restored pay cuts made in 2014. To ensure the company retained their Waterford site, workers at the plant agreed to the series of cuts.
The company agreed to a deal with Siptu workers in 2014 which saw workers’ salaries fall 7.5%; the elimination of some bonuses; one hour added work per week; a reduction in the sick pay scheme and an improved redundancy package for the 200 workers who were set to lose their jobs.