INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
PJ CARROLL & COMPANY LIMITED
- AND -
GROUP OF UNIONS (SIPTU, ATGWU, AEEU, TEEU)
Chairman: Ms Owens
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Method of selection for compulsory redundancy.
2. The Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Rothmans International Tobacco Group. It employs 250 people at two locations, Dublin and Dundalk in the manufacture of cigarettes for the Irish market. Until February, 1998, it produced cigarettes for export but the bulk of this export volume has been lost to other Rothman's factories in the U.K.
To deal with this situation, the Company announced a reorganisation programme in December, 1997. Local level discussions, and two conciliation conferences held under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission, took place following which agreement was reached on voluntary severance and other rationalisation measures. The package was advertised but only 36 applicants applied for the 74 redundancies which were agreed.
The Unions' positions is that it is opposed to compulsory redundancy except on the strict principle of last-in-first-out (LIFO). The Company agrees but on the condition that it can retain essential skills and key personnel.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference took place on the 9th of April, 1998. As agreement could not be reached the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 9th of April, 1998 under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 6th of May, 1998.
3. 1. The Union is opposed to any increase in the agreed number of workers being made redundant, i.e. seventy-four and if compulsory redundancies are necessary they must be carried out on a length-of-service basis.
2. The workers who volunteer to avail of the package must be declared redundant after, where necessary, a handover/training period for their replacements.
3. Opportunities for re-deployment must be afforded to administrative staff in administrative duties. These opportunities have been pointed out to management and, consequently, accommodations must be made. The offer of re-deployment made to one member, which was subsequently rescinded, should be reinstated.
4. All workers departing under this current redundancy package should be afforded the same buy-out of the free cigarette issue as in the past and be paid one weeks pay as per their current agreement. (It is recognised that this facility will not apply to workers who availed of the negotiated option to have the value of the free issue and the one week's pay converted into a supplementary pension scheme).
5. Craft workers who derive their livelihood from the Dundalk site will not be disadvantaged in any manner by sub-contracting activity or by the transfer on a casual, temporary or permanent basis of craft personnel employed by Rothmans elsewhere within the Group of Companies.
6. The severance package should be adjusted to compensate workers under forty years of age on the same basis as their colleagues above that age.
4. 1. The volume was lost from the Dundalk factory on the 1st of February, 1998. This is putting considerable cost pressure on the viability of domestic market production in Ireland.
2. In this difficult situation most issues have been resolved. Agreement has been reached on the reorganisation programme, the manning levels and structure of the factory, and on generous severance terms and on 17 departures on compulsory redundancy. However, the Company is left with the residual and unfortunate problem of the selection criteria for the compulsory redundancy of 13 jobs.
3. This outstanding issue is critical as the security of the jobs remaining at Dundalk is dependent on the retention of the essential skills for current and new generation equipment and to improve product quality. The Company wishes to have regard to its obligations to all staff and believes it would be remiss in its duty in applying a LIFO principle to the selection for redundancy. Accordingly, the Company requests that the Trade Unions' LIFO proposal be rejected and that the Company be allowed to proceed with the implementation of the plan to secure domestic production in Dundalk.
The Court has given careful consideration to the points made by the parties. The Court in general supports the Union claim that the principle of L.I.F.O. should apply in redundancy situations such as exists at present in the Company. The Court also recognises that the retention of special skills is an imperative for the Company.
The Court, accordingly, recommends that the parties meet once more and attempt to agree the employees who must be let go on the basis of retaining skills.
Employees not covered by L.I.F.O. and who are made compulsorily redundant should be offered an enhanced package from £3,000 to £8,000 lump sum to facilitate re-training.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
18th May, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Fran Brennan, Court Secretary.