INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
LOWE ALPINE INTERNATIONAL
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Redundancy terms.
2. The Company commenced operations in Tullamore, Co. Offaly in 1978. It manufactures high quality outdoor garments and accessories. It currently employs 191 staff. The Company is due to close on the 31st of March, 2001.
The dispute before the Court concerns a claim by a Group representing 39 workers for redundancy terms and that the 2% PPF increase due on the 1st of April, 2001 be included in the calculations.
The Group is seeking six weeks' pay per year of service plus statutory entitlement. The Company is only prepared to offer two and a half weeks' pay per year of service plus statutory entitlement.
Local discussions could not resolve the issue. The dispute was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission held on the 23rd of February, 2001. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 28th of February 2001 under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 9th of March, 2001.
3. 1. In 1998, workers received four weeks' pay per year of service in a voluntary redundancy situation. This should have been the Company's minimum starting offer.
2. A textile Company with a less well known brand name paid four weeks' pay plus statutory entitlement over a year ago.
3. The assets of the Company are greater than the cost of the redundancy offer made.
4. The workers concerned should receive six weeks' pay per year of service plus statutory entitlement and the 2% PPF increase due on the 1st of April, 2001 should be included in calculating the redundancy.
4. 1. The Company has been open with the workers concerned throughout the negotiations.
2. The redundancy package offered to the workers is fair and generous and is well above the norm for the clothing industry.
3. The Company cannot improve on the redundancy terms offered due to its poor financial position.
The Court notes that substantial agreement has been reached between the parties on a range of issues arising from the impending closure of the Company's Tullamore plant on 31st March, 2001. The outstanding issues referred to the Court relate to the level of redundancy compensation and the claimed inclusion in reckonable earnings of a 2% increase due on 1st April, 2001.
The Company have referred the Court to a number of redundancy settlements in the clothing industry with which their offer is generally in line. There are, however, significant differences in the circumstances of the employments referred to and those of the Company. Furthermore, the Court notes that in the case of a previous voluntary redundancy settlement, the Company agreed terms appreciably in excess of those now offered.
Since the present redundancies will not be on a voluntary basis, and having regard to all the circumstances of the case, the Court recommends that the Company should amend its offer as follows:
1. Statutory Payments in accordance with the Redundancy Payments Acts 1967-1991.
2. Plus ex-gratia payment of 4 weeks' pay per year of service.
3. Plus £75 per year of service.
This offer should be in full and final settlement of all outstanding claims arising from the impending closure, including the claim for inclusion of the 2% increase due on 1st April, 2001.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
16th March, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Gerardine Buckley, Court Secretary.