INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
WACE SPECIALIST PRINTERS LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
DUBLIN PRINTING GROUP OF UNIONS
Chairman: Mr McGrath
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Future redundancy terms.
2. The Dublin Printing Group of Unions is seeking a commitment from the Company that, in the event of redundancies arising in the Company in the future, the minimum terms to apply would be those set out in Labour Court Recommendation LCR15071. This Recommendation was issued by the Court in January, 1996, in the context of the major rationalisation which took place in the former Hallmark Cards at the time it was taken over by Wace.
The Company recently completed the sale of its land and premises in Rathfarnham. The Unions have been informed by management that the Company has entered into an arrangement with the purchaser that it will lease back the premises for 3-4 years while it seeks a suitable alternative. However, there are fears among the workforce that the Company, which is UK-based, might sell off its Irish assets and withdraw from this country. Accordingly, they are seeking an assurance that the terms to apply should be those in LCR15071. The Union side claims that, if the Company is sincere about assurances it has given about the future of the Company, it should have no difficulty in relation to the commitments being sought by the workforce.
The Company's position is that no redundancies are envisaged and that, if and when a redundancy situation should arise in the future, the matter should then be the subject of negotiations between the parties.
The dispute, which concerns approximate 150 workers, was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission, at which agreement was not reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court, on the 12th of May, 1997, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court carried out its investigation on the 21st of July, 1997.
3. 1. If, in the future, the Company decides to cease its operations in Ireland, it can move out overnight as it will have at that time no assets, i.e., buildings, etc. and in those circumstances the workers will find it very difficult to receive reasonable redundancy terms.
2. The majority of the workers currently employed in the Company have contributed greatly to the Company and accepted considerable cuts in their conditions of employment at the time of the purchase of Hallmark Ltd. This should now be reciprocated by the Company in giving them the undertaking that they seek.
4. 1. If, in the future, redundancies are necessary, appropriate negotiations will take place taking account of the circumstances at that time.
2. The Company has no intention of ceasing its Irish operation and management in Ireland and in the UK have every confidence in the Company's future here.
The Court is concerned at the lack of trust which exists between the management and staff of this Company.
This has not been enhanced by the manner in which the property of the Company was disposed of without any meaningful communications with the staff.
If, as the Company state, they have every confidence in the future of the operation of the enterprise at Rathfarnham, the issues of credibility and communications need to be addressed.
It is the view of the Court that, in the event that any future redundancies arise these should be negotiated with the Unions, both parties taking account of the provisions of LCR15071 in their discussions.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
25th of August, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Michael Keegan, Court Secretary.