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 Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers

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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sat Jan 31, 2009 2:36 am

What is there to sell in it and how much will that capital go for I wonder?

The workers could end up wanting it in the end anyway and the creditors could end up settling for something rather than nothing.

Otherwise from the ruins of this some competitors could emerge that would destroy the good name of Waterford Glass. Could happen you know these are disastrous times for some.
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sat Jan 31, 2009 2:39 am

Creditors will always settle for the best price available. If the Waterford Glass workers are convinced the place can make a profit they should stump up the cash and buy Waterford Glass. It is an unfortunate situation but that, or another investor, is the only thing which will save their jobs in the current situation.
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sat Jan 31, 2009 2:50 am

johnfás wrote:
You can't just jump in and change the law... there are literally thousands of companies in this country about to go bust and there are thousands of companies in the past which have done so. There is a clear priority of debt when a company goes into Receivership or is eventually wound up by Liquidation. It is mandated by the Companies Acts and to bypass that would be i) against the law or ii) require statutory intervention which would have a whole host of bad repurcussions. Tattoo in haste and you will regret at your leisure.
I take your point, but I would think a case could be made that at least before the shareholders get anything, the pension fund should be looked after to whatever extent possible. Failing that, if at all legally possible the directors should be made personally responsible for the pension shortfall.


Last edited by tonys on Sat Jan 31, 2009 2:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sat Jan 31, 2009 11:06 am

tonys wrote:
johnfás wrote:
You can't just jump in and change the law... there are literally thousands of companies in this country about to go bust and there are thousands of companies in the past which have done so. There is a clear priority of debt when a company goes into Receivership or is eventually wound up by Liquidation. It is mandated by the Companies Acts and to bypass that would be i) against the law or ii) require statutory intervention which would have a whole host of bad repurcussions. Tattoo in haste and you will regret at your leisure.
I take your point, but I would think a case could be made that at lease before the shareholders get anything, the pension fund should be looked after to whatever extent possible. Failing that, if at all legally possible the directors should be made personally responsible for the pension shortfall.

I'm not familiar with the specifics. Is there allegations that pension funds were misappropriated in some way? Almost every pension including my own is loosing valeu at the moment, given their nature this is inevitable, that alone isn't a sign of foul play. I know it might sound crappy but I don't see why they should have their pensions protected and not everyone else or the administrators of their pension plans be held responsible for global market downturns.
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sat Jan 31, 2009 11:15 am

shutuplaura wrote:
I'm not familiar with the specifics. Is there allegations that pension funds were misappropriated in some way? Almost every pension including my own is loosing valeu at the moment, given their nature this is inevitable, that alone isn't a sign of foul play. I know it might sound crappy but I don't see why they should have their pensions protected and not everyone else or the administrators of their pension plans be held responsible for global market downturns.

There's no doubt that's a fair point but as I posted on the previous page from RTE, it seems the pensions in the UK branch were catered for while the Irish dragged their feet. Now it may be too late for workers who just gave 40 years to Waterford:

Hundreds of current and former Irish workers at Waterford Wedgwood could lose their pension entitlements because of a shortfall in the company's retirement scheme. The workers in the British part of the group are covered by a Pension Protection Fund.

The Irish Government examined setting up a pension insurance scheme two years ago but no legislation was ever implemented. That means there is no safety net for Irish staff as Waterford Wedgwood's pension fund is in deficit of over €100m.
http://www.rte.ie/business/2009/0109/waterford.html


Pension funds at large it seems have lost - Irish ones are down by (or to??) 30% but an insolvent pension fund ... ? I'll have a look around to see if there's particular analysis of this particular pension scheme that seems to have been wiped out utterly.

I believe their redundancies are going to be affected too.
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sat Jan 31, 2009 2:06 pm

shutuplaura wrote:
tonys wrote:
johnfás wrote:
You can't just jump in and change the law... there are literally thousands of companies in this country about to go bust and there are thousands of companies in the past which have done so. There is a clear priority of debt when a company goes into Receivership or is eventually wound up by Liquidation. It is mandated by the Companies Acts and to bypass that would be i) against the law or ii) require statutory intervention which would have a whole host of bad repurcussions. Tattoo in haste and you will regret at your leisure.
I take your point, but I would think a case could be made that at lease before the shareholders get anything, the pension fund should be looked after to whatever extent possible. Failing that, if at all legally possible the directors should be made personally responsible for the pension shortfall.

I'm not familiar with the specifics. Is there allegations that pension funds were misappropriated in some way? Almost every pension including my own is loosing valeu at the moment, given their nature this is inevitable, that alone isn't a sign of foul play. I know it might sound crappy but I don't see why they should have their pensions protected and not everyone else or the administrators of their pension plans be held responsible for global market downturns.
I understand what you're saying and you're right, that is the situation. What I'm saying is that when a company goes down, in so far as is possible, the directors, not the workers, should take 100% of the hit, that's the risk that gives them the right to 100% of the net profits in the good times.


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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sat Jan 31, 2009 2:07 pm

dp


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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sat Jan 31, 2009 2:09 pm

dp
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sat Jan 31, 2009 2:19 pm

Well if a company has been run in a way contrary to Company Law the directors can be made liable. An investigation is carried out to this effect by the Director of Corporate Enforcement following a receivership or eventual winding up. The Examiner/Receiver/Liquidator is required by law to submit a report on the conduct of the Directors to the Director of Corporate Enforcement.

However, what you suggest would require a huge change in Company Law and would in fact overturn the whole basis of the Company dating back to the case of Salomon v A Saloman & Co Ltd in 1897. That is that a corporation has an entirely separate legal personality from its corporators save in exceptional circumstances, such as fraud or failure to comply with Company Law, where the courts will overlook this separate legal personality. Without this law it is unlikely that many beneficial risks of business would be made.

There are many duties, both fiduciary under the common law and statutory under the Companies Acts, which the directors of companies must comply with. Failure to comply with company law can make directors wholly and personally liable for the debts of the company, in an extreme example. Rather than hounding the receiver and making it less likely that any investor in their right mind would buy the place, the employees should hound the directors if they feel that the company was run in a manner contrary to Company Law.
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sat Jan 31, 2009 3:48 pm

There is a demonstration in support of the Glass workers at 1 p.m. in Waterford today and a mass meeting of the employees/workers tomorrow.

Several hundred spend the night there last night.
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sat Jan 31, 2009 10:37 pm

No money in the place according to breaking news.... Cleaned out it seems.

Now, isn't there some rules of Company Law that won't permit a company to continue borrowing if there isn't an appropriate ratio of capital to turnover or profit? Or is that just banks.

Quote :
The receiver at Waterford Crystal has told union representatives that he had no option but to cease manufacturing because the money he borrowed to continue operations has been spent.

http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/mhsnqlkfkfid/

David Carson has released a statement following his meeting with union officials, the President of ICTU, David Begg and the Secretary General of the Department of An Taoiseach, Dermot McCarthy in Dublin today.

In it he said he recognises that the situation is difficult for the 480 employees who have lost their jobs, but he said he has to deal with matters in the context of his legal role and responsibilities.

David Carson said he anticipates an early conclusion to negotiations with those parties who are interested in acquiring the company's assets.
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sat Jan 31, 2009 10:47 pm

If a receiver continues to borrow without evidence that the company can continue he can become personally liable for those debts. That rule just applies to the banks. Companies can borrow as much money as they want provided the banks will lend them money but that doesn't apply when a company is in examinership/receivership.
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sat Jan 31, 2009 10:50 pm

About 3,000 people demonstrated outside the Visitor’s Centre today.

As well as the Dublin meeting there was also a meeting of local Union leaders in Waterford.

I was told by union members that they understood that the Receiver was in talks with a possible buyer last week and that the talks were positive, with an offer of 200 million on the table and a guarantee to keep manufacturing in Waterford for 10 years. The Receiver had said that while these talks were on there would be no action taken, then on Friday there was a rumour of closure. Unite phoned the Receiver and were told the plant would be closing that day. The main gates were to be locked at 5 p.m. and redundancy notices delivered to peoples’ houses by the private security firm.. Just after 4p.m. people at work were told to get out straight away and the main gates were locked by a private security firm working for the Receiver. There are plenty of people there who have worked there over 30 years. Unite texted and phoned members and hundreds came in. People got in to the Visitor’s Centre and the occupation was established spontaneously.

Redundancy notices have been delivered to some people and not to others.
A few people were told they would be kept on to keep essential services going.

Unite is demanding that the letters of redundancy be withdrawn. They are looking for decent severance pay and their pensions: people have contributed over 40 years and look like having nothing. They say Government is in breach of an EU Directive to protect pensions such as theirs.

They point out that people like Redmond O’Donohue took out up to 1.5 million in bonuses in years when a loss was being made.

They say that the Visitor’s Centre and the Crystal division in Waterford are in profit, and that 8 million was taken out of the firm at the end of last year.

They are staying put until they get a reasonable solution.

Thanks to Ian Paul for information.

The Socialist Party is calling for nationalisation of Waterford Glass.

I'll try to post some photographs tomorrow.
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sat Jan 31, 2009 10:58 pm

Well done cactus - is the suddenness of all this an issue - seems like they were put on a long finger or something.

What EU Directive ??!
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sat Jan 31, 2009 11:01 pm

That is what happens in a receivership situation. Things go down to the wire and they can't go down to the wire in a negotiation with the employees, unless those employees are seeking to purchase the company. The structure of a company whereby its management negotiates and acts in the interests of its employees ends on the appointment of a receiver.
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sat Jan 31, 2009 11:04 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
Well done cactus - is the suddenness of all this an issue - seems like they were put on a long finger or something.

What EU Directive ??!

Years of bad, amateur, management and the difficulty of making and selling anything in competition with the developing countries. As usual, the union members say everyone gets looked after before the people who did the work to make the product. Why bail out the property developers but not them?

I would query why someone who has managed Waterford Crystal into the ground should also be Chairman of Bord Failte.

As 89% of our exports are Foreign Direct Investment, Waterford Crystal is one of our very few International brands, and according to the guys in Waterford, the Crystal was not making a loss.

After working for a firm for 40 years, 7 of which were spent learning the trade, and then just getting locked out with no notice, it is not surprising that they are shocked and angry.
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sat Jan 31, 2009 11:19 pm

This from BN until then

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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:40 am

tonys wrote:
shutuplaura wrote:
tonys wrote:
johnfás wrote:
You can't just jump in and change the law... there are literally thousands of companies in this country about to go bust and there are thousands of companies in the past which have done so. There is a clear priority of debt when a company goes into Receivership or is eventually wound up by Liquidation. It is mandated by the Companies Acts and to bypass that would be i) against the law or ii) require statutory intervention which would have a whole host of bad repurcussions. Tattoo in haste and you will regret at your leisure.
I take your point, but I would think a case could be made that at lease before the shareholders get anything, the pension fund should be looked after to whatever extent possible. Failing that, if at all legally possible the directors should be made personally responsible for the pension shortfall.

I'm not familiar with the specifics. Is there allegations that pension funds were misappropriated in some way? Almost every pension including my own is loosing valeu at the moment, given their nature this is inevitable, that alone isn't a sign of foul play. I know it might sound crappy but I don't see why they should have their pensions protected and not everyone else or the administrators of their pension plans be held responsible for global market downturns.
I understand what you're saying and you're right, that is the situation. What I'm saying is that when a company goes down, in so far as is possible, the directors, not the workers, should take 100% of the hit, that's the risk that gives them the right to 100% of the net profits in the good times.

Morally I believe you are correct but I just can't see any way that directors can do anything or should even be made do anything more now. Its a problem that we are facing all over the world. The managing director of my company speant 1.5 million (US) dollars refurbishing his office recently at a time people are being laid off. I presume he got a massive bonus. Thing is, he is famous in Wall street for the modest bonus he always accepts relative to others in his position. The previous CEO recieved 100's of millions by the time he left the company. And by then we had lost billions in the credit crunch. Basically the lady who cleans the kitchen has made more for the company than him but he has been paid enough to ensure his grandchildern never have to work. Whats the answer though?

Its such an internationally recognisable brand it would be a terrible shame if this does signal the end of crystal production in Waterford. The ball in times square that decends to mark the new year was made there. Its in all of the shops that sell that sort of thing over here and the guy I sit next to in work was even quizzing me about it during the week. The missus got a lift from a taxi driver who wanted to know if she had ever visited the Waterdford Crystal mines.

The tragedy for the workers is that it seems to be a failure of management. The brand image hasn't changed in years and was allowed become old fashioned. Hardly the fault of the crystal cutters in Waterford and more a failure of marketing and brand development.
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:00 am

Do you think we'll see "Made in China" written on the base of Waterford Crystal in the near future?
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sun Feb 01, 2009 4:34 am

So its come to this - not surprised really.

http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/mhsnqlkfkfid/


The money has run out and there is no firm offer on the table. The receiver had no choice. His mission was to find a buyer and keep the company afloat until that happens - unfortunately in these credit deprived days that is a tall order - Without a firm offer on the table and the heads of agreement signed - you simply will not get bridging finance so the Receiver had no alternative - the best that can be hoped for now is that a buyer can be found who will take on the Enterprise as a going concern and discharge the company's debts and may re-hire some of those workers who have been laid off.

I feel enormous sympathy for the workers - 10 of them live in my home town and 7 of those are Single Income families - particularly as Im in virtually the same situation myself - My company ran out of money in December - made us all unemployed that very Friday - temporarily first and then permanently as from 2 weeks ago - The Receiver was called in and his mission is to find a buyer who will take the company on as going concern or get a big enough sale of the assets to discharge the companies debts - I am owed 3 months deferred salary (last paycheck was August) ,holidays,notice and redundancy - havent received a penny yet - there are still 2 companys interested in buying the company/assets , but they have to conduct Due Diligence which can take months and also meet their directors etc etc and most importantly these days - find some way to come up with the cash - its not easy. The Receiver can only hold out so long before Liquidation becomes the only option and then you are in the lap of the Gods.

Like The guys in Waterford - Im not worried about the Shareholders - once the Receiver comes in - everything is frozen and the Shareholders have no control - any money that comes in from a sale goes to in priority -1the State 2) Employees 3) any other preferential creditors and down the line - the shareholders are at the end of the queue and Im sure A O Reilly has totally written off seeing a single penny back from Waterford Glass - Likewise my own shareholders are going to get stiffed for 7 and 8 figure sums as repayment of capital only comes after all other creditors have been catered for - thems are the breaks - profit and loss.

As regards their pension situation - well thats a problem for all defined pension schemes at the moment - the market is in the tank - the pensioners are living longer etc etc - Im on a PRSA so thankfully Its something Im not worried about at the moment (I got my yearly statement last week - it would cause cardiac arrest in a Yak - thank god Im not retiring anything soon).

Hmmm - There is no way out of this I think - looking at things from a purely strategic business point of view - The company has a troubled history of coming close to closing - bad industrial relations and inflexible work practices - it was only when their back was completely against the wall did anything change - its been drip drip drip for 5 years now - the tide has finally gone out for Waterford Glass in the Worst Business conditions globally for 60 years.

Personally I feel that there is a great opportunity here -if you could get together the cash and knock a bit of reality into the workforce - a talented and skilled workforce that could be retrained - you would have to start from scratch tho - the decorate crystal side of things could be a kept as a boutique operation only - bring the whole manufacturing process back to Ireland and make it a genuine handcrafted premium enterprise again - and be prepared for the long hard slog of getting it back on the right shelves worldwide again - That would take a minimum of 5 years - it wouldnt be easy - but it could be done if your pockets are deep enough and you get the right switched on sales and marketing people - something that has been completely absent from Waterford Glass for the last decade as they coasted on past reputation as the quality went down. That should be 20% of the turnover - the real money to be made in the short to midterm future will be in industrial glass technology - I would have diversified into fibre-optics and photonics decades ago - high end industrial crystal manufacturing for industry is labour intensive and highly skilled - but it pays - seeing as most of the stimulus packages being announced by Governments all over the world will be investments in infrastructure,high end military spending, environmental technology, space travel and exploration development and other such investments (they want to get as good a bang for their buck as possible - reinflating the property and consumer bubbles will just be throwing good money after bad and all you get is lots of usless (and imported) consumerist rubbish) - Its time this country took a long 10-20 year look at where we want to be , what our skills are and what jobs we want in this country - something I'll come back to at a later date as I've ruminating over this for days as I chauffeur my retired father around from retail park to retail park in search of the "Bargain" - the man is gods gift to consumerism - I go along to be one who asks "Do you really need this" - the mother doesn't need the grief anymore.
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sun Feb 01, 2009 4:44 am

The biggest yoke the shareholders would have to buy would be the name, wouldn't it?

Waterford
Coca Cola
Microsoft
..
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sun Feb 01, 2009 4:49 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
The biggest yoke the shareholders would have to buy would be the name, wouldn't it?

Waterford
Coca Cola
Microsoft
..

Im sure you mean the biggest yoke they would have to sell?

Maybe - but I think that the Waterford Crystal brand is severly damaged and I cant see it flying as a "marque" in somebody elses stable unless some bit of the production is done in Waterford itself - its pricey and I cant see "made in China" on the bottom doing them much favours.

You may have a point - Im not sure tho
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:05 am

Sorry I meant "workers" not shareholders. Who owns that name?

It's hardly damaged if it already has made a name for itself

Levi's
Porsche
DeWalt
...
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:21 am

There is great scope for optimism. Another 480 who are having globalism explained to them the hard way.
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PostSubject: Re: Waterford Glass Closed - Occupied by Workers   Sun Feb 01, 2009 12:31 pm

Edo wrote:
.....bring the whole manufacturing process back to Ireland and make it a genuine handcrafted premium enterprise again.....

Good post Edo, one thing really jumped out was the above. Has the company really outsourced the manyfacturing to some overseas location? That is staggeringly stupid if so and the workers are crazy for allowing this to happen. What actually went on in waterford if this was the case?

Good luck on finding a nw job. I'm currently waiting patentially for the bullet myself. Its simply shit.
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