INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
TECHNICAL, ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Severance/Redundancy terms.
2. Following a major restructuring of the Company in June 2003 the Labour Court (LCR17514) brokered a redundancy package which was accepted by all parties involved. In March 2004 a further reduction of jobs was announced and the Unions agreed to broadly the same package as in June 2003. The value of this package was approximately 3.9 weeks' pay per year of service. In July 2004 the Company announced that the Letterkenny plant would close down in October, 2004.
The Unions are now seeking that the previous package be increased to 5 weeks' pay per year of service inclusive of statutory redundancy. The dispute was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission and a set of proposals emerged which were recommended for acceptance by all parties. These proposals were rejected by Union members.
The matter was referred to the Labour Court on the 1st October, 2004 in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 14th October, 2004.
The Company did not attend the hearing but a letter which was sent to the Court, stating their position, was read into the record of the Court. The letter stated (inter alia) " all during the current negotiations the Company stated that it did not see any point in referring this matter back to the Labour Court due to the Court's involvement in the initial deal and the fact that this was now the established precedent in the Company."
UNIONS ' ARGUMENTS:
3. 1. The Unions' claim for an increase in the redundancy package are reasonable in the circumstances.
2. The Unions contend that the Company should pay the best severance package they can afford.
3. The Unions claim that there is no question of the Company's ability to pay.
4. 1. The rejected package has been accepted by another group within the Company and was previously
recommended for acceptance by the Union representing the vast majority of staff.
2. The offer stands favourable comparison with other packages offered in the Region and in the industry.
3. The Company could have liquidated the operation and paid out statutory redundancy only. It chose to exit honourably and pay the terms of the previous package.
Given the serious situation of a total closure, and despite its stated reasons, the Court is disappointed by the decision of the Company not to attend the hearing on this case.
Having considered both trade union submissions as well as the Company's letter of 11th October, 2004, which was read into the record at the hearing, the Court recommends that the Company's final offer, as amended by the Industrial Relations Officer's proposal of 17th September, 2004, be accepted both by the management and by the trade unions concerned.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
20th October, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Madelon Geoghegan, Court Secretary.