INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
THE CENTENARY CO-OPERATIVE CREAMERY SOCIETY LIMITED
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Voluntary redundancy.
2. The Society is based in Ballyduff, Thurles and is engaged in a number of operations including milk, fertiliser, farm equipment and hardware. Up to 1998, the Society was also involved in the production and delivery of butter, and the worker concerned was involved in this full time.
In 1998, the Society decided to cease making butter but the worker continued to deliver sourced butter until March, 2001, when this activity also ceased. Instead, the worker was asked to deliver a product called Tornado wire and would be required to drive a Rigid Truck for the deliveries. The Union's case is that the worker is unhappy with his new duties, particularly driving the Rigid Truck, and is seeking that the worker should be made redundant. The Society does not see this as a redundancy situation. The worker has been on sick leave for some time.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference took place. As the parties did not reach agreement, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 8th of August, 2002, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 1st of October, 2002 in Clonmel.
3. 1. The worker was trained as a butter maker when he joined the Society in 1964. Buttermaking is a highly skilled job. He is 57 years old and to expect him to now drive a truck which is far bigger than he is used to is unfair.
2. The Society has acknowledged that he has been a loyal and co-operative employee.
3. The Society's decision to get out of butter making/delivery made the worker's job redundant and, by extension, it should now pay him redundancy.
4. 1. The Society does not regard this as a redundancy situation and, in fact, wishes to retain the worker. If the worker were to be let go he would have to be replaced.
2. There is a position for the worker which would involve driving a rigid-bodied truck. He has been assured that he will get training in driving the vehicle. He was also offered a job in Cashel which he rejected.
3.The butter making machinery has not been used since 1998. The worker has retained his rate of pay as a buttermaker and conditions of service despite the fact that the duties he now performs are of a lower grade. His work has been in a state of change since 1989.
The Court has considered the position of the claimant who seeks to be made redundant. The Court is not satisfied that a redundancy situation exists, as alternative offers of work have been made to him. The Court recommends that an assessment of his medical condition should be carried out to ascertain his likely return to work date.
Depending on the outcome of this assessment, in addition to the offers of employment made, the Court recommends that the Society should consider the possibility of offering an early retirement package to the employee. The Court does not accept that the terms of the previous redundancy package are appropriate in these circumstances.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
14th October, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.