INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
WILLIAMS WALLER LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr McGrath
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr Walsh
1. Dispute concerning redundancy terms.
2. The Company (part of the Williams Group) is involved in the business of grain drying for the malting and feedstuff industries. It has ten branches throughout the Midlands. The Company was taken over by Greencore in 1996. As a consequence of the take-over the Tullamore office will close, resulting in a number of redundancies. The Company offered the workers a redundancy settlement amounting to 3 weeks per year of service plus statutory entitlements. The Union on behalf of the workers, submitted a claim for 5 weeks plus statutory. Management rejected the claim. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference was held on the 11th October, 1996. Agreement was not possible and the dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 14th November, 1996.
3. 1. The Union is seeking the application of the agreed Greencore settlement, i.e., 5 weeks' pay per year of service plus statutory entitlements. The workers are entitled to those terms because Williams Waller is a Greencore Company. Greencore will benefit from the redundancies. It can well afford the amounts claimed. The terms sought are not unique and are similar to other Agri-Business settlements (details to the Court).
2. It is not correct to claim that Williams Waller only paid 3 weeks plus statutory in previous settlements. Sums greatly in excess of this have been paid to other workers who left the Company. An associated Company to Williams Waller previously paid 5 weeks plus statutory plus £1,000 in 1989.
3. At a previous Labour Court hearing (LCR 14038 refers) the Company informed the Court that it made offers of redundancy to two workers whose redundancy was contested (4.42 weeks per year of service and 4.68 weeks per year of service). In LCR 14038 the Court increased the Company offer to two other workers by £2,500 to each of the workers.
4. The workers concerned are losing their jobs. They agreed not to contest the redundancies and not to seek seniority with corresponding Greencore workers provided the Greencore package was paid to them. The Union also agreed not to pursue its claims related to pay adjustment and agreed minimum payments regardless of service, if the claim for 5 weeks plus statutory is conceded.
4. 1. There are no standard Greencore redundancy terms and settlements within the Group vary widely. The normal settlements within the Group similar to Williams Waller (e.g., Minch Norton) are 3 weeks including statutory with a cap of £20,000. The precedent within Williams Waller is around 3 weeks per year of service. The proposed level of payment is in line with precedent.
2. The issue was the subject of a Labour Court recommendation in April, 1993 (LCR 14038 refers). At the hearing the Company presented details to the Court in relation to specific workers whom the Union had claimed received substantially enhanced redundancy terms. The information indicated the terms actually paid and, where variances existed, the specific reasons were given to the Court. Since then the Company has effected 11 redundancies, including the 2 workers to whom LCR 14038 refers. The average settlement terms paid are 3.15 weeks per year of service.
3. The Williams Group has sustained considerable financial losses and therefore there is no justification for the Union's claim. The basis for pay pauses in recent years were one of a number of measures to try to cut costs and make the operation viable. Losses still continue and no basis exists for adjusting any redundancy package to offset the increases foregone. The Company also rejects the Union's claim for a minimum payment regardless of service on the grounds of costs.
The Court, having fully considered all of the issues raised by the parties, recommends that the redundancy settlements applied to the two employees named on page 5 of the Union's submission including all payments made be applied to the employees here concerned.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
8th January, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.