INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
CLARENBRIDGE OYSTER CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY LIMITED
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation R-031467-Ir-04/Jh.
2. In 2001, FAS agreed to support the Co-op through the Social Economy Programme (SEP), and funding from FAS was used to pay the employees' wages. The worker concerned was employed as a Supervisor in the SEP from 28th May, 2001, to 21st May, 2004. As a result of a change in Government policy in 2004 funding was cut by 25%. FAS would only fund 75% of workers' wages and the Co-op claimed it could not fund the remaining 25%. This resulted in the termination of the SEP and the loss of the worker's job. Whilst other employees transferred to a neighbouring community employment scheme the worker was made redundant.
The Union met with the Co-op to discuss the worker's redundancy package. The Union is seeking 3.35 weeks' pay per year of service (which it claims is in accordance with an agreement reached in relation to Community Employment Scheme Supervisors) plus statutory entitlements of two weeks' pay per year of service plus one week's pay, giving a total of 5.35 weeks' pay per year of service. The Co-op is prepared to pay the worker 3 weeks' pay per year of service plus statutory entitlements but says it cannot afford to pay the .35 weeks for the 3 years (worth approximately €450). The dispute was referred to a Rights Commissioner and her recommendation was as follows:-
"Based on the submissions made and for the reasons set out in the foregoing I recommend that the worker receive five weeks pay per year of service inclusive of his statutory entitlements and that the enhanced terms, at least, should be funded by FAS".
The Union appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 18th of July, 2005, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 26th of October, 2005, in Galway.
3. 1. The worker had hoped that his employment would have lasted for more than three years. It was not a 3-year contract as the Co-op claims.
2. Agreement was reached between FAS and SIPTU in 2005 for a redundancy package of 5.35 weeks' pay per year of service to apply to Supervisors and Assistant Supervisors of Community Employment schemes.
4. 1. The Social Economy Scheme was for a 3-year contract and was fully funded by FAS. The Co-op did not realise that it would have to pay redundancy to staff who were on a 3-year contract.
The Union appealed the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation on the basis that it did not allow for the full terms of the severance package as agreed in 2005 between FAS and SIPTU in respect of Community Employment Supervisors and Assistant Supervisors. The Scheme which applied to this enterprise was the Social Economy Programme which provides funding to pay wages for the initial period of the enterprise's development.
As the Appellant's employment terminated due to redundancy during the terms of this funding the Court is of the view that the severance package as provided for in the 2005 FAS/SIPTU Agreement referred to above is appropriate in the circumstances. This Agreement provided for a severance package of statutory redundancy (two weeks' pay per year of service plus one week's pay) plus an ex-gratia payment of 3.35 weeks' pay per year of service. The Court recommends that the Appellant should be paid a severance package in accordance with that Agreement.
Therefore, the Court varies the terms of the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation in relation to the level of severance, but upholds her Recommendation that the enhanced terms, at least, should be funded by FAS.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
18th November, 2005______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.