INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
J. LYONS AND COMPANY (IRELAND) LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
2. The Company is a long established blender and distributor of tea. It proposes to make a worker redundant in the factory area. The parties are in agreement on the necessity for the redundancy. The dispute concerns the criteria for selection. Management contends that selection for the redundancy should be on a last in first out basis (LIFO). The Union claims that it should be effected on a voluntary basis. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference was held on the 29th of July, 1997. Agreement was not possible. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 7th of October, 1997. A Court hearing was held on the 25th of November, 1997.
3. 1. The Company is pursuing a LIFO policy in direct contravention of agreed guidelines.
2. The Company introduced an amended contract of employment, which stipulates a 'Right' to select workers on a LIFO basis. There was no consultation or agreement with the Union on this document.
3. Negotiations on a severance package have not been concluded. It is pre-emptive for the Company to pursue this course of action and amounts to an arbitrary imposition of pre-conditions to voluntary negotiations.
4. The workforce is resolutely and adamantly opposed to redundancy by means of a LIFO system. The claim, if conceded, would give LIFO to the Company in all circumstances and in perpetuity. It would be a recipe for industrial relations conflict.
4. 1. LIFO is accepted as a fair method of selection for redundancy throughout industry. It is frequently agreed as the basis of selection between companies and unions when the issue of redundancy arises.
2. The Company should not be obliged to seek redundancies on the sole basis of volunteers. Such a situation would make redundancy very expensive and ultimately damage the Company's ability to remain solvent and competitive.
3. It is accepted that a redundancy situation exists. The selection for redundancy on the basis of LIFO is the fairest method. It protects the longest serving workers.
4. The redundancy package offered by the Company (6 weeks' including statutory entitlements) is fair and compares favourably with such packages in similar companies.
In the circumstances of this case the Court recommends that the parties negotiate further on an agreed severance package, with the assistance of the Labour Relations Commission if necessary. In the event of agreement not being reached the matter may be referred back to the Court for a definitive recommendation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
4th December, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.