INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
DARNDALE BELCAMP INITIATIVE LIMITED
- AND -
A GROUP OF WORKERS
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Appeal of Rights Commissioners Recommendation IR17273 - IR17278 (double appeal).
2. The Company is community based with charitable status. There are six workers involved in the case who were involved in the Company's job initiative scheme which was funded by FAS. Four of the workers commenced employment in December 1996 and two in March 1991. They had signed an initial contract for one year and extensions of the contract thereafter. In February, 2003, they received notice of dismissal due to budgetary cutbacks. Five of the workers finished in June 2003, and one had left voluntarily in February, 2003, after receiving the notice of dismissal. The Union's case is that the workers were employed to full-time positions under contract and that the dismissals led to a redundancy situation. The Union was seeking that they be paid enhanced redundancy payments of three weeks' pay per year of service plus statutory entitlements. The Company's position was that the jobs did not cease to exist but merely became vacant following the completion of the workers' participation in the scheme.
The dispute was referred to a Rights Commissioner and he recommended as follows:
While I believe the reason for terminating the claimants employment on the JI programme was as a result of cutbacks in funding, the employer did give each of the claimants notice in writing on 10th February 2003 that their participation on the programme was to end as a result of their having completed in excess of the estimated original 3-year term. If the claimants employment were being terminated in accordance with the provisions of the original contract i.e. "up to 3 years", then, in those circumstances, I would not see the claimants having any entitlement to redundancy terms. However, in each case their employment was extended by over three years without any contracts being signed or agreed.
Taking all matters into account, including previous recommendations on similar claims, I recommend that (five workers) each receives two weeks pay per year of service, plus statutory terms.
In the case of (the sixth worker), I also award her two weeks pay per year of service, plus statutory terms, as she also received notice on 10th February that her employment was being terminated.
(The six workers were named in the above recommendation)
Both parties appealed against the recommendation - the Union on the 19th July 2004, and the Company on the 23rd of July, 2004 - in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 21st of September, 2004.
3. 1. The workers signed an initial contract for one year and, thereafter, there were no further contracts signed or agreed. Therefore, their status of employment became permanent after the appropriate time and is covered by all relevant employment legislation.
2.FAS, as funding agent, has accepted that the workers have an entitlement to redundancy payments and will fund same.
3. Previous recommendations of the Rights Commissioner Service and the Labour Court have awarded enhanced redundancy payments of three weeks' pay per year of service plus statutory entitlements.
4. 1. There was no cutbacks in the funding for the job initiative scheme. The positions vacated by the workers were filled on the 1st of December, 2003.
2. The scheme had come to its close time but had been extended for an inordinate amount of time
3. The Company made every effort to help the workers to procure full-time employment in the job market.
4. If the Union's claim is conceded it will have serious implications for the Company and the job initiative programme.
The Court has considered the oral and written submissions to both appeals of the Rights Commissioner's recommendation. The Court concurs with the findings of the Rights Commissioner that the six named appellants were entitled to redundancy terms on the termination of their employment. The Court also concurs with the recommended ex- gratia redundancy terms. Accordingly, the Court upholds the Rights Commissioner's recommendation and dismisses both appeals.
Therefore, the Court decides that all six named appellants should receive two weeks' pay per year of service plus statutory redundancy terms.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
11th October, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.