INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
G.S.K. STAFFORD MILLER (IRELAND) LIMITED
- AND -
AMICUS - AEEU
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Redundancy terms.
2. Block Drug, which owned Stafford Miller Ireland, was bought by GlaxoSmithKline in October, 2002. In June, 2001, the Company announced the transfer of the Sensodyne product to the UK, and the transfer of Polygrip from the US/Mexico to Dungarvan. As a consequence, 104 redundancies were announced although none were expected to take place before early to mid-June, 2002. The Company maintains that a shutdown date of 26th of July, 2002, was confirmed but that no fitter would leave before 30th of September, 2002.
The Company sought applications for voluntary redundancies and received 127 applications. Individuals were informed that anyone leaving before the agreed date (26th of July, 2002) would not be considered for redundancy. The dispute concerns 3 workers who are seeking the redundancy package which applied to other employees. Worker A applied for the voluntary redundancy scheme in October, 2001, but resigned with effect from 15th February, 2002. Worker B applied on the 9th of November, 2001, but withdrew his application on 22nd of January, 2002. Worker C did not apply for the redundancy scheme.
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 29th of April, 2003, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 2nd of October, 2003, in Waterford, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The 3 workers were in vulnerable situations. Two of the workers - A and B - were trying to secure jobs in Showerings in Clonmel, and had to leave before the shutdown date if they were to get the jobs.
2. Worker C had to avail of a job in I.F.I. Marino Point in Cork. He handed in his notice to the Production Manager but received no acknowledgement in advance of his leaving.
3. The Company had budgeted for these redundancies. The Union did everything possible to manage the process as smoothly as possible. The 3 workers and their colleagues contributed to this and are entitled to the redundancy package.
4. 1. Each individual applicant was clearly informed as to the conditions applying to the redundancy package. None of the 3 workers concerned fulfilled the conditions.
2. No other employees have made a claim similar to the 3 workers. However, if their claim succeeds there could be knock-on claims.
The Court has had regard to the exceptionally long period between the announcement of impending redundancies, the invitation to apply and the release date for those whose applications were accepted. In these circumstances, the parties might have anticipated the difficulties which have now arisen and made provision in their agreement to accommodate those who wished to leave early for compelling reasons.
The Court views the circumstances which exist in this case as being highly exceptional. On the one hand, the agreement concluded between the parties is clear and precludes the claimants from any benefit arising from the redundancy package. However, the jobs of the claimants no longer exist and they are, in reality, redundant. Furthermore, they are included in the number of reductions targeted and budgeted for by the Company.
In this case, and on an exceptional basis, the Court recommends that the claimants in these cases be offered an inclusive of statutory payment equal to 2.5 weeks' pay per year of service in full and final settlement of their claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
24th October, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.