Workers at a Clonmel pharmaceutical plant face almost two years of cutbacks if they accept Labour Court proposals concerning pay cuts and other cost-saving measures.
The Labour Court has recommended a range of cost-saving measures at Suir Pharma after finding that both SIPTU and UNITE agree that the viability of the enterprise is in question.
Around 175 people are employed by Suir Pharma and at the Labour Court, the firm claimed that it expected to post a loss of in excess of €1.8m for 2014.
In addition, it was claimed that “the company’s survival plan requires temporary savings in the region of €1.1m in 2014 and 2015 in order to remain trading”.
The most recent accounts show that the firm recorded a modest profit on revenues of €24.3m in 2012.
The firm supplies products across a broad spectrum of therapeutic areas including pain management, anti-depressants, anti-hypertensives, benzodiazepines and gastrointestinal treatments.
The unions told the Labour Court that the proposals put forward by management would reduce basic pay, reduce overtime and overtime rates, eliminate two bonuses, reduce annual leave, increase the work week and reduce break and shift handover times.
In response, the firm said that it had employed an independent assessor to carry out a financial review which outlined the serious challenges the company faces.
The company also gave assurance to re-instate any changes to terms and conditions subject to an independent financial review in the third quarter of 2015.
In its determination, the Labour Court stated that in the circumstances, the necessity for some adjustment in terms and conditions could not be in doubt “although the scale of the adjustment is in dispute”.
The Labour Court stated that it was satisfied that the final position put forward by the company in a letter dated April 2, 2014 was reasonable.