INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Redundancy terms for one manager.
2. Uniphar was founded originally in 1967 as a co-operative society under the name UPC. The organisation changed its status to a limited company and changed its name to Uniphar plc on the 7th of November, 1994. On the 17th of November, 1994, Uniphar acquired the APD group. The APD group had premises in both Finglas and in Limerick and was involved in the wholesale distribution of pharmaceutical products and the manufacture and sale of galenical products.
The Uniphar Group acts as an agent and is also engaged in wholesale distribution of pharmaceutical products employing a workforce of approximately 220 staff of whom 64 are Limerick based.
In October, 1999, following an inspection of the Company's premises, the licensing authority (Irish Medicines Board) instructed the Company to cease operations in the galenical area forthwith. Subsequently, the three workers employed in the area were offered alternative employment. In relation to the worker concerned an option of redundancy was also put forward.
Discussions took place following which the Company offered a redundancy package of 4 weeks' pay per year of service plus statutory entitlement, subject to a ceiling of £37,000. Its position is that it considered the terms of Labour Court Recommendation number LCR14948, issued in relation to a redundancy situation at another company site, to be appropriate. The Union rejects the offer. The matter was the subject of a conciliation conference held under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission but agreement could not be reached and the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 17th of November, 1999 under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place, in Limerick, on the 23rd of November, 1999.
3. 1. No reasonable alternative employment was put forward by the Company and the redundancy package on offer shows scant regard for a worker with 40 years service.
2. The Company knowingly began downsizing the operation in the Compounding Area in 1997 and the Irish Medicines Board's decision not to grant a licence is a result of its failure to invest in the area.
3. The worker has been employed as manger of the compounding facility in the galenicals area by Uniphar Group and United Pharmaceuticals for approximately 40 years. Both parties agree that there is no suitable alternative employment available within the plant and that an appropriate redundancy package should be negotiated. In the circumstances the Union is seeking a lump sum payment of £105,000.
4. 1. The closure of the galenicals area has resulted solely as a consequence of the review carried out by the Irish Medicines Board and its instruction to the Company to cease operations forthwith.
2. The worker was offered alternative employment with a buy out of the excess between his current and revised rates of pay. This offer remains open.
3. In the event that the worker continues to decline the alternative employment offered (details supplied to the Court), the Company believes that the severance package offered is a fair package, taking into account his long service, his good standing within the Company, and the precedent of the Labour Court Recommendation issued in 1995.
4. The Company has attempted both at local level and by using the machinery put in place under the chairmanship of the Labour Relations Commission to resolve this matter , having due regard to the Company's competitiveness and the redundancy package offered by firms in similar industries.
Having considered the submissions of both sides the Court is of the view that as the claimant has over 40 years service and is now losing his employment through no fault of his own, he should be treated in a special and unique way.
The Court recommends that he be paid an ex-gratia redundancy payment of four weeks' pay per year of service, subject to a ceiling of £80,000, inclusive of his statutory entitlement and pay in lieu of notice if applicable.
In recommending the above package the Court is cognisant of his extremely long service to the Company while still only 56 years of age. These are unusual circumstances and, therefore, should not be seen as a precedent for other claims.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
15th December, 1999______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Fran Brennan, Court Secretary.