INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
AMALGAMATED TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
2. Goldcrop Limited is based in Carrick-on-Suir. Wicklow Garden Products is a section of the Company. In April, 2004, the Managing Director of Goldcrop informed the four workers concerned that the agricultural production section of the Company would cease after this year's harvest. On the 21st of April, the workers were issued with proposals to redeploy them to suitable alternative employment in Wicklow Garden Products. The offer was two permanent jobs to the longest serving workers and a review of the situation for the other two workers after the harvest, with a possible offer of permanent employment for them.
The Union referred the case to the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) where it sought the following:
That a voluntary severance package of six weeks' pay for each years service inclusive of statutory should be agreed
That a voluntary severance package should be allowed "open" for an agreed period to establish if there were members willing to accept the package and;
That redeployment to work at Wicklow Garden Products, Carrick-on-Suir would be available for members who didnotwant to take voluntary redundancy package.
- The Company rejected the claim and the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 6th of August, 2004 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 23rd of September, 2004, in Thurles.
3. 1. The only fair way to address the case is by choice on a voluntary basis. At present, the two workers with the longest service wish to take redundancy whereas those with the least service would be interested in going to Wicklow Garden Centre.
2. The claim for six weeks' pay per year of service (including statutory entitlements) is reasonable under the circumstances.
4. 1. All four members have worked in Wicklow Garden Products before and it is suitable alternative employment. Terms and conditions of employment are similar to those enjoyed in Goldcrop Limited.
2. It is premature to discuss redundancy. The two senior workers have been guaranteed employment and it is hoped to be able to offer the remaining two workers employment after the harvest.
The Court notes the employer's assertion that no redundancy situation exists at present as there is sufficient work in either Goldcrop Limited or Wicklow Garden Products to retain all of those associated with this claim in employment. The Court further notes the employer's view that the workforce of both Goldcrop Limited and Wicklow Garden Products are, in practice, a single entity.
Against that background, the Court is of the view that those who have been offered redeployment to Wicklow Garden Products should accept that offer. Should a redundancy situation arise when Goldcrop Limited finally ceases trading the question of whether selection should be voluntary or compulsory should be discussed between the parties. In that context, the pool from which selection will be made or volunteers sought should be the combined workforce of Goldcrop Limited and Wicklow Garden Products.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
8th October, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.