Republican News · Thursday 24 August 2000

[An Phoblacht]

Factory owner pulls out of redundancy deal

Last Saturday, at Sinn Féin Councillor John Dwyer's suggestion, New Ross UDC called an emergency meeting of councillors to consider the crisis in Celtic Seafoods.

Jim Lett, the owner of Celtic Seafoods, which closed its doors this month on some 80 workers, announced last week that he would not be honouring the redundancy package he had agreed with workers. Instead, he had decided to make the payments contingent upon the sale and transport of his factory assets up to another Celtic Seafoods plant in Donegal.

The workers and union invited local Sinn Féin councillor in New Ross, John Dwyer, who is quite well known as a trade union activist, for advice and support. Workers voted for official industrial action two weeks ago and have placed a continuous monitor on the factory.

As it is, the redundancy package which Jim Lett now is refusing to honour was tight-fisted. For the maximum 16 years of service, a worker would only receive 10,000. Promised payments were as low as 500. Workers were only to get the third and last instalment next November.

The council decided on Saturday to send another deputation to Dublin to seek a task force for the New Ross area, following the closure of several factories and the loss of many jobs. Last month, the council lobbied Mary Harney but came back with nothing. This time, the councillors asked John Dwyer to accompany Senator Jim Walsh to make representations concerning the deindustrialisation of Wexford.

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