INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
PJ CARROLL & CO LTD
- AND -
SIPTU, ATGWU, TEEEU, AMICUS
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Severance Terms.
2. The Company is closing its manufacturing plant in Dundalk in late 2005, early 2006, and sixty six workers will be made redundant. The dispute concerns the Company's offer in relation to severance terms which have been rejected by the Unions. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A Conciliation Conference was held following which the respective positions of the parties were as follows;
Six weeks' pay per year of service plus statutory redundancy entitlement capped at 3.5 years' pay.
Deferred pension for employees under age 50. The Company offered to treat three employees age 49 as if they were 50.
Immediate pension for employees over 50 with five years service credit plus enhancements.
Ex gratia package of 5 weeks' pay per year of service Capped at four years. This figure only to be used in calculating the employee contribution to the Pension.
One week's pay per year of service uncapped for each employee to compensate for the long service, loyalty payment, cooperation agreement, loss of entitlements.
Employees to receive the value of the Statutory Redundancy Rebate (uncapped).
Pensions- employees under 50
The Company to concede that it will fund the pensions scheme for these workers until they reach age 50, and then apply the terms of this element of the package to them, when they reach age 50.
Pensions - employees over 50
The Company to only reduce the final year's basic pay by 1/2 times the Single Persons Social Welfare Allowance to determine pensionable pay.
If the Company claims it is not possible due to the rules of the Pension Fund then the Company to provide additional funding / credit to the workers in the scheme, so as to have the same effect.
That only the ex-gratia claim of 5 weeks' pay per year of service be used to determine the employee's contribution to purchase the existing added pension.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 29th November, 2005 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Court hearing was held on the 1st December, 2005.
3. 1. The claimants who have been the most loyal of employees in the Company are now an ageing workforce. They have worked in a plant that has no significant upskilling or re-training over the years . They will be entering a local labour market which has a higher than the national average unemployment rate. Employment for the claimants is highly unlikely.
2. The Company pension entitlements proposal is of lesser value than that offered to workers in a voluntary severance situation in 1998.
4. 1. The Company's severance deal on offer is one of the most lucrative and favourable available. While the Company is aware of the implications of redundancy for workers its redundancy package as well as the other terms on offer takes cognisance of all such concerns and is extremely generous.
2. The Company in good faith has made every attempt to settle this dispute and has improved upon elements of the severance deal that are negotiable. To this end the Company would have been prepared to enhance the lump sum by removing a half week per year of service from the Cap as outlined at the LRC discussions. Not only does this half week benefit those with long service, irrespective of age, it has the much added advantage of giving workers more money as the amount will be paid in cash. This allows workers to do with it as they please, with diverting in AVC's being an obvious example.
The Court is satisfied that the severance terms contained in the Employer's final offer are reasonable by any normal standards. However, in the interest of obtaining final agreement the Court believes that the fairest way of addressing all of the issues raised by the Unions is to increase the cash value of the overall scheme. This could be achieved by exempting an element of the ex-gratia lump sum from the cap of 3.5 years' pay. Accordingly the Court recommends that 1.5 weeks' of the 6 weeks' pay per year of service ex-gratia payment be paid without application of the proposed cap.
The Court recommends that with this modification the Employer's final offer at conciliation be accepted.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
6th December, 2005
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.