Brussels, 06 May 2010
598 former Waterford Crystal workers and suppliers to receive €2.6 million in EU funding for job search
The European Commission has today approved an application from Ireland for assistance from the European Globalisation adjustment Fund (EGF). The grant of €2,570,853 will help 598 redundant workers in the crystal glass industry to find new jobs. The application will now go to the European Parliament and the Council of the EU for agreement.
"Today's decision will help the former Waterford Crystal workers on the road to a new job though training and support to update their skills ", said László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. He added, "The crisis has hit Waterford particularly badly because the fall in consumer purchasing power led to a drop in demand for luxury items like crystal glass. The globalization fund will help cushion this dramatic change by helping workers better prepare for and find new opportunities".
The Irish application relates to 653 redundancies in total, of which 627 were in Waterford Crystal and 26 in three of its suppliers. Of these, the 598 most disadvantaged will receive support. The redundancies are a consequence of Waterford Crystal being placed in receivership in January 2009. The rapid decline in demand for non-essential goods and the failure to raise the necessary capital – both consequences of the financial and economic crisis – were followed by a failure to find a buyer for the company, resulting in its bankruptcy.
The South-East region, where Waterford Crystal is based, is more dependent on industrial activities than Ireland as a whole, making the region much more vulnerable to an economic downturn. The closure of Waterford Crystal has affected the local economy in two different ways: the direct loss of jobs at Waterford Crystal and its suppliers, but also the resulting impact on tourism, as the Crystal Visitor Centre and the factory used to attract around 320,000 visitors per year. It is estimated that the closure of the Waterford Crystal factory is causing an annual fall in personal consumption in Waterford city and its surroundings of at least EUR 40 million with a potential additional knock-on impact on local employment.
The total estimated cost of the package is € 3,955,159, of which the European Union has been asked to provide EGF assistance of €2,570,853. The package will help the 598 most disadvantaged of these dismissed workers by offering them occupational guidance, help for business start-up and various training courses, including 3rd level degree courses, with the relevant allowances and grants.
There have been 55 applications to the EGF since the start of its operations in January 2007, for a total amount of about €272 million, helping more than 52,300 workers. EGF applications relate to the following sectors: automotive (France, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Germany, Sweden); textiles (Italy, Malta, Lithuania, Portugal, Spain and Belgium); mobile phones (Finland and Germany); domestic appliances (Italy); computers and electronic products (Ireland and Portugal); mechanical/electronic (Denmark); repair and maintenance of aircraft and spacecraft (Ireland); crystal glass (Ireland); ceramics and natural stone (Spain); construction (Netherlands and Lithuania); carpentry and joinery (Spain); electrical equipment (Lithuania) publishing and printing industry (Netherlands), furniture (Lithuania), retail trade (Czech Republic) and wholesale trade (Netherlands). Final reports from the earlier cases supported by the EGF show strong results in helping workers stay in the labour market and find new jobs (in 2008, 69% of those helped found new jobs).
The EGF, an initiative first proposed by President Barroso to provide help for people who lose their jobs due to the impact of globalisation, was established by the European Parliament and the Council at the end of 2006. In June 2009, the EGF rules were revised to strengthen the role of the EGF as an early intervention instrument. It forms part of Europe's response to the financial and economic crisis. The revised EGF Regulation entered into force on 2 July and applies to all applications received from 1 May 2009 onwards.
Video News Releases:
Europe acts to fight the crisis: the European Globalisation Fund revitalised
Facing up to a globalised world – The European Globalisation Fund
Subscribe to the European Commission's free e-mail newsletter on employment, social affairs and equal opportunities