Waterford Crystal plans to close its plant in Waterford for three weeks over the next two months as it awaits a decision from the Government on a request from its parent company for a State guarantee of a €39 million bank loan.
The workers at plant in Kilbarry were told yesterday afternoon that the company intends to introduce "short-time" working, under which the plant will close for three weeks over the coming two months.
Waterford Wedgwood, the parent company of Waterford Crystal, has asked for the State guarantee as it cannot get additional bank funding to keep it afloat.
Waterford Wedgwood had net debts of €473.4 million in September 2007 and its principal shareholders Sir Anthony O'Reilly and his brother-in-law Peter Goulandris, have invested €300 million in the group in recent years.
In the two years to March 31st 2007, the company lost €260 million and it announced last November that it was cutting 490 jobs at the crystal-manufacturing plant. The State guarantee would secure the remaining 550 jobs at its factory in Waterford.
Glass making in Waterford dates from 1783 and in 1947, Czech immigrant Charles Bacik, grandfather of Irish Senator Ivana Bacik, opened a glass works in the city because of the reputation of the original glassware. In the early 1950s, the operation was acquired by the Irish Glass Bottle company, which was controlled by the McGrath family who also operated the Irish Sweepstakes.