Thursday, January 24 11:00:44
The UNITE trade union has today outlined plans for a legal campaign to force the current owners of Waterford Crystal to repatriate manufacturing of the brand to the City.
Since the purchase of Waterford Crystal by KPS in 2009, the vast majority of manufacturing has been moved away from Ireland with the loss of more than 600 skilled jobs in the city, Unite said.
However, a statement from WWRD said that the 600 jobs were lost after the closure of the factory when Waterford went into receivership in Jan 2009. This was prior to WWRD being formed by KPS in March 2009.
The union said that the brand is still sold under the original Waterford trade mark and UNITE is now going to challenge use of the trademark on glass not produced in Waterford, with a view to maintaining the skill base in Waterford and making sure that the link between glass production and Waterford is not lost, it said.
It said that there is significant legal and commercial precedent for a successful action against the manufacture of products in other regions as being associated with the skill and tradition of a particular geographic location built up over generations.
"Champagne and Parma have successfully protected the link between the name of the place and products made there, while Movenpick was recently prevented from making a link to Swiss chocolate when production was actually taking place in Germany," said UNITE National Co- ordinator, Walter Cullen.
"We have engaged experts in the field of trade marks who believe that the people of Waterford have a strong case to make."
"It is our hope that the people of Waterford, the City Council, Chamber of Commerce and state agencies will join us in this test case and work with us to protect the heritage of crystal making in Waterford."
"We will now start the process of filing our case and look forward to the point in the future when the economy of Waterford can enjoy the benefits of the genuine link to the brand that bears its name."
WWRD said they want manufacturing returned to Waterford.
Since the formation of WWRD in March 2009 we have demonstrated our commitment to returning manufacturing to the City of Waterford. In June 2010 we opened the House of Waterford Crystal creating over 120 jobs in the process. The House of Waterford Crystal was the result of a huge amount of hard work led by WWRD and Waterford City Council, and a working group which included a wide range of local stakeholders, including Unite. WWRD is committed to manufacturing in Waterford City and we always welcome constructive dialogue with Unite.