INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
SMURFIT CORRUGATED CASES
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH PRINTING FEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Redundancy package and access to the package.
2. The Company manufactures corrugated packaging and employs 190 workers at its Walkinstown plant. The dispute before the Court concerns a claim by the Union for:-
(i) an enhanced redundancy package for five workers,
(ii) this package to be made available to approximately thirty five other workers.
In late 1999, a new works agreement was signed which covered all areas of the plant's operations including terms and conditions of employment.
The Company at the Union's request named twelve employees whom it thought would find it most difficult to work under the new structure. An enhanced severance package was put in place for the twelve named employees.
In February, 2000, the Company decided to facilitate five workers who were part of a previously over subscribed voluntary redundancy package but on the same package they had applied for.
The Union is seeking an enhanced package for these five workers and this package to be made available to a further thirty five employees who are not willing to continue working with the Company under the new agreement. The Company rejected the claim. Local discussions took place but the dispute could not be resolved.
The dispute was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission held on the 21st of January, 2000. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 1st of June, 2000, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. Each employee concerned made it known to the Company at a very early stage that they did not wish to continue working with the Company under the new agreement.
2. The Company's approach will lead to a reduction in productivity and efficiency in the plant.
3. The Union's understanding was that the severance package would be offered to more than the twelve employees named by the Company.
4. 1. It was always the Company's intention to open up the severance package on a voluntary basis. The Union requested the Company to name those who could not work under the new structure. It was also at the Union's request that a special enhanced package be given to the twelve workers named.
2. There are no redundancies being sought as the employees leaving will be replaced.
3. The five employees who were part of the previously over subscribed severance package received the package they originally applied for.
4. The Company always stated that the number of workers it could facilitate with a severance package would depend on the funds available.
A number of differences emerged at the hearing in relation to the actual discussions surrounding the negotiating of the Redundancy package.
Following receipt of minutes of meetings held between the parties, the Court is satisfied that:-
(a) the package designed for the twelve people involved was an enhanced package specifically designed to take account of their special circumstances.
(b) the Company was not aware of the significant number of employees who would be interested in a voluntary package until after the special package for the twelve was agreed.
(c) the Company offered to accommodate the applicants by dividing the pot of money available for the twelve people, plus the five extras, between the total number of applicants.
Having considered all the information available the Court does not recommend concession of the Union's claims.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
15th June, 2000______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Gerardine Buckley, Court Secretary.