Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow John Brady has today slammed Rondo Foods in Arklow for their refusal to engage with the Workplace Relations Commission. He called on the Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation to direct the owners at Rondo Food in Arklow to engage with the Workplace Relations Commission to help put in place a fair redundancy package.
The Wicklow TD also asked for an Employment Taskforce to be put in place. This follows the announcement by Rondo Foods of 157 potential job losses in November.
Speaking having met with Rondo Food workers last night, Teachta Brady raised the matter in the Dáil today;
“On the 8th November Rondo Foods announced that the 157 Arklow jobs were at serious risk and that they were entering a 30-day consultation process with staff representatives.
“Unfortunately, it is very apparent that Rondo didn’t enter that process in good faith. They have dismissed any cost saving proposals that have been put forward and have ruled out the prospect of the business being sold as a going concern.
“In fact, at the same time proposals were being put forward to save the company Rondo had engineers over from Germany in Arklow measuring up machinery to be stripped out and moved to Germany.
“I believe that Rondo never had any desire to stay in Ireland and I think their actions back that up. It’s apparent that the only reason Rondo engaged in the 30-day consultation process is because they had to. It was their intention from the outset to cut and run back to Germany.
“During the four meetings that have now taken place between senior management of Rondo and staff representatives, there has been a disagreement on the terms of a fair redundancy package for the workers. The workers have asked the Workplace Relations Commission to intervene in the dispute. They are the body tasked with dealing with any industrial disputes. Rondo unfortunately are refusing to engage with the WRC.
“Given that massive amounts of tax payers money have been given to Rondo Foods in Grant aid through Enterprise Ireland, this is a disgraceful position they have adopted.
“The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys must directly intervene and direct the owners at Rondo Food to engage with the industrial machinery of the State. They should do so in respect of their workers who have given so much for many years. It is a disgrace that they have to be forced into engaging with their workers through this process.
“Workers at Rondo Food have been left in a nightmare situation, potentially losing their jobs just before Christmas. At the very least they deserve Rondo Food to come to the table.
“In the Dáil today I also called on Minister Humphreys to establish an employment taskforce in Arklow given the fact that the town is an unemployment blackspot and the impact that such major job losses will have on the town. This needs to happen immediately.”