INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Redundancy terms.
2. The dispute concerns 21 workers who were employed in the Bakery, in Carraghbawn, Westport, Co. Mayo. The Bakery closed on the 10th of December, 1999, resulting in the 21 workers being made redundant. The Company was purchased by the present managing director in 1975, and has 17 retail outlets employing approximately 40 people.
The Union is seeking 4 weeks' pay per year of service plus statutory entitlements. The Company has paid the statutory payment plus 60% rebate, and claims that, because of financial difficulties, it cannot pay more. (The Company supplied details of its financial situation to the Court.)
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference took place on the 7th of December, 1999. As the parties did not reach agreement, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 14th of December, 1999. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 11th of January, 2000.
3. 1. The workers made a considerable contribution towards keeping the Company in business over the years. Much of the day-to-day running of the business fell to the Bakery staff, as management did not appear to be very interested in improving the Company.
2. The Union's claim of 4 weeks' pay plus statutory is the standard within the industry
3. The rates of pay in the Company are low and inconsistent. Some of the workers have been there for 10 years and deserve to be rewarded for their dedication.
4. 1. In the early 1990's, an increase in competitiors and their range of products seriously damaged the Company's business. Despite efforts taken by the Company (details supplied to the Court), sales continued to drop, resulting in major losses in 1998/99. The Company had no choice but to close the Bakery.
2. Even with the sale of the Bakery, the Company will still be in financial difficulties. The Company acknowledges the input of the workers over the years but it cannot afford to pay more than statutory redundancy.
The Company has submitted to the Court that its financial circumstances are such as to prevent it from making any redundancy payments beyond its statutory obligations. Financial information provided to the Court appears to confirm this position. However, that information was not made available to the Union prior to the hearing, and it has not had the opportunity to examine it in detail or discuss its content with the Company.
The Court would not consider it appropriate to make a definitive recommendation on the Union's claim until the Union has had such an opportunity. The Court recommends that a further meeting should now take place between the parties to discuss the reports presented at the hearing, and any other relevant information relating to the financial circumstances of the Company. Should the Union so request, this information should also be made available to its professional advisors.
Should the Union wish to re-enter its claim following this process, the Court will facilitate an early resumed hearing.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
17th January, 2000______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.