ALL 1,100 jobs at contact lens maker Bausch and Lomb will be lost
unless it gets €21m savings.
In an ultimatum to shocked staff at its Waterford plant, the US company said it
is set to slash 200 jobs and cut pay by 20pc to bring it in line with its US
workers' wages. But if the remaining staff refuse to accept the 20pc pay cut all
the jobs will be axed.
Staff got a devastating blow yesterday when Bausch and Lomb announced it needed
"substantial cost reductions" to keep the plant open.
It said it aimed to bring costs closer to those in Rochester, New York, where
wage rates are 30pc lower.
"The feeling inside is anger," said one devastated worker after hearing the
news. "I don't think people are going to roll over. The country is down the
GARDAI are investigating 16 complaints relating to activities at
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has confirmed that a senior officer from the
fraud squad has been appointed to look at all the issues.
Although the minister did not describe the nature of the complaints, the Irish
Independent understands that several relate to allegations of personal
information being leaked.
NAMA, which has generated €18.6bn in cash since its formation in 2009, said that
it was aware of investigations into two ex-employees. A spokesperson noted that
it "referred" the two former workers to the authorities in September 2012 and
A LABOUR TD has revealed that he had to "bite the bullet" and
dismiss a parliamentary assistant who was a childhood friend.
At an Employment Appeals Tribunal hearing in Ennis yesterday, Michael McNamara
said that "a degree of sentimentality" initially stopped him from dismissing
friend Conor Daly, but his contract was terminated in March 2012.
The politician said that he knew Mr Daly from childhood when they would play
together with Mr McNamara's cousins at their home in east Clare.
Mr McNamara said that Mr Daly started to cry when he told him at a "difficult"
meeting in March 2012 that he would not be renewing his probation period.
Monday's jobs figures for the first three months of 2014 got less
media coverage than usual as the country's attention was focused on election
results and the Tánaiste's resignation.
That the numbers got little attention was probably just as well. They were not
encouraging. They showed that the remarkable increase in employment from the
middle of 2012 until the end of 2013 came to a shuddering halt at the beginning
of this year.
In the first quarter of 2014 the numbers at work in the economy, when seasonal
fluctuations are stripped out, stood at 1.9 million, almost unchanged on the
previous quarter. This followed five consecutive very strong quarterly increases
in employment. Indeed, the rate of jobs growth was so strong from the middle of
2012 to the final quarter of last year that it topped the league among the 28
members of the EU in the period. The first quarter figures disappointed not only
because the numbers at work are a hugely important indicator in terms of
national well being, but because most other indicators (including separate
figures on those claiming unemployment benefit) pointed to jobs growth in early
Feargal O'Rourke of PwC: As Bob Dylan puts it, “You don’t have to
be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows” and change is coming in the
global tax environment. But, perhaps contrary to the conventional wisdom, this
could end up playing out quite well for Ireland in the medium to long term.
Let’s start at the end game. It is in Ireland’s strategic economic interests to
have a corporate tax regime that attracts investment, creates employment and
However, it must also be accepted by the global community as a competitive but
fair tax system. We need to take the long-term view. In the current global
debate, being hosted by the OECD under its BEPS (base erosion and profit
shifting) agenda, it is the last factor that has Ireland in the spotlight.
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has rolled out his “3Rs” – rate, regime and
reputation. The 12.5 per cent rate is a settled issue. Ireland’s tax regime is
rules-based and transparent; but how does Ireland’s tax reputation stack up at
what is a pivotal time in the global tax environment?
A 24-hour strike at Aer Lingus, which commenced this morning, has
hit over 200 flights and affected the travel plans of some 30,000 people.
In a statement this morning the airline described the strike as “unwarranted and
unnecessary” and said it would cause “huge disruption”.
The company said its cabin crew “enjoy some of the most favourable working
conditions in Ireland. Changes to working conditions such as rosters should be
agreed in an orderly and responsible manner and our paying customers should not
be used as leverage by IMPACT in their negotiations”.
The National Asset Management Agency intends to ask Minister for
Finance Michael Noonan about the possibility of offering “retention payments” to
staff in order to prevent them from leaving for the private sector.
Nama chairman Frank Daly told the Public Accounts Committee that nobody in the
agency was currently in receipt of a bonus but that a payment, deferred until
the agency completed its work, was something that might need to be considered to
incentivise staff to remain. Some 15 staff have left the agency this year.
Responding to Independent TD Shane Ross, he said Nama staff earned an average of
€90,000 per annum but were in a “unique” situation as the progress they made in
their work in shifting the assets held brought them closer to redundancy. Nama
is due to complete its work by 2020 but the committee today heard this date was
open ended and could come as soon as 2018.
Google has launched a service through which European citizens can
request that links to what they deem as objectionable material be taken off
search results, the first step to comply with a court ruling affirming the
“right to be forgotten.”
The world’s largest Internet search engine, which processes more than 90 per
cent of all Web searches in Europe, said that it has made available a webform
through which people can submit their requests, but stopped short of specifying
when it would remove links that meet the criteria for being taken down.
Google also said it has convened a committee of senior Google executives and
independent experts to try and craft a long-term approach to dealing with what’s
expected to be a barrage of requests from the region’s roughly half-billion
The 505 largest hedge fund managers in the world, each with over
$1bn (€734m) under management, control 90% of the industry’s assets, research by
Preqin showed yesterday.
They collectively manage $2.39 trillion of the industry’s $2.66tn in assets but
account for just 11% of active firms, the industry tracker said in a statement.
“The increase in hedge fund assets is being driven by allocations from the
largest investors in hedge funds, those which currently allocate more than $1bn
to the asset class,” said Amy Bensted, head of hedge funds products.
“With these investors allocating approximately $650bn to hedge funds, an 18%
increase from this time last year, it will be important for hedge fund managers
to attract inflows from these prominent institutional investors,” Ms Bensted
Euro Topics: Berliners
want freedom, not flats: In a referendum on Sunday 65 percent of those who took
part voted against the plans of the Berlin Senate to build residential flats on
the former site of Tempelhof airport, which is currently being used as a park.
The politicians underestimated the Berliners, the left-liberal daily Berliner
Zeitung comments: "They don't know how important places that give people a sense
of freedom are for Berlin. Without such feelings of freedom Berlin wouldn't be
Berlin. Political freedom has been defended in the city of the Berlin Wall. ...
Without freedom Berlin would be just another big city. But Berlin is a place of
yearning. You can't plan places of yearning, they aren't just made. They emerge
where people look for and find them. If you look at the Tempelhof airfield from
this point of view, all the arguments of those who want to build flats fade into
irrelevance. ... But the Tempelhof airfield needs more. It needs to be about
ideas for the 22nd century. The freedom of Tempelhof gives us the unique
opportunity to design the city of the future. Inhabiting, working, living - what
could these things look like in the future?"
Cracow's mature citizens vote against Olympics: Almost
70 percent of the residents of the Polish city of Cracow who took part in a
referendum on Sunday voted against their city making a bid to host the Winter
Olympics in 2022. This result proves that the citizens of Poland are
gaining in maturity, Radosław Leniarski of the liberal daily Gazeta Wyborcza
comments approvingly: "Putin and his 50 billion dollars for Sochi have
undoubtedly put people off the idea. The celebrations for the games at the Black
Sea resort were more lavish than ever before. The games were so sumptuous that
this couldn't be repeated. ... The decision of the residents of Cracow is from
my point of view a reason to be optimistic. Because it shows that we are
starting to understand how much depends on us, the citizens. We know what we are
worth and don't just get hysterical about things. ... But naturally this
referendum should have been held before the application for Cracow's candidacy
Pyrrhic victory for the Flemish nationalists: The
Flemish nationalist Bart De Wever was tasked with forming a government on
Tuesday following the victory of his N-VA party in Belgium's parliamentary
elections. The liberal Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad doubts he will be
able to accomplish this: "De Wever promised to reform the social welfare system.
Rightly so. Because in what other European country are people entitled to
life-long unemployment benefits? So it's better to tackle that problem than to
take on the umpteenth state reform. But his real agenda is federalism with as
much Flemish autonomy as possible. This makes the N-VA a threat to the structure
of the Belgian state. ... Both at the national level and in Flanders it would be
possible to form a government without the N-VA. ... The traditional parties
didn't suffer a real defeat and could leave the N-VA out of the equation. ...
Prime Minister Elio di Rupo restored stability after Belgium set a new record
with coalition negotiations that went on for 541 days in 2011. This time smoking
out the N-VA could be a quicker process."
Anne Knudsen fears war in Europe: In view of the
success of the right-wing populist and Eurosceptic parties in the European
elections, editor-in-chief Anne Knudsen of Weekendavisen, a Danish magazine,
sees the threat of war in Europe growing in the long-term in the conservative
weekly Weekendavisen: "It's not unlikely that the Eurosceptic parties
that won't have any influence on EU policy will fight their way to power in
their home countries and begin to divide the Union. Although the EU is portrayed
as powerful and strong, it is a vulnerable construction. If one or two countries
leave the Union it will be difficult to keep the rest together. ... The EU's
weakest element is its foreign policy. If the major countries start pursuing
their own foreign policy our part of the world will really be in trouble; Putin
dreams of nothing else. ... The main goal of the Union is therefore its original
one: preventing war in Europe. At this point the risk is small that war could
break out between the current EU members. But war comes to those that can't
defend themselves, and as individual entities the EU states don't come across as