INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Compensation for relocation.
2. The Union's claim is on behalf of fifty eight workers who are being relocated from the St. Magdalen plant to the Drinagh plant, both of which are in Wexford. The distance involved is two kilometres and the Union is seeking €1,200.00 net per person by way of compensation. The Company's case is that the move is for economic reasons due to considerable losses in the last two years. It has offered the workers the use of a bus free of charge for the first year after the move. The Company does not believe any compensation is warranted as the move is such a short distance.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a Conciliation Conference took place. As the parties did not reach agreement the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 29th of July, 2005, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations, Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 22nd of September, 2005.
3. 1. The majority of the workers involved are low paid and any increase in the cost of living is difficult for them to cope with. Thirty one of the workers do not have cars and will have to spend an extra €12.50 per week on bus fares.
2. The Company has agreed a generous exit package for those employees leaving another of the Company's plants in Carlow which is closing later this year.
3.Many of the workers living within walking distance of the St. Magdalen plant will now have to make alternative transport arrangements.
4. 1. The Company is in an extremely competitive sector and believes that the relocation is in the best interest of the business including retaining sustainable employment.
2. The distance involved is small and for a number of people it will mean a shorter distance to work. The area is serviced by a ring road which gives easy access to the Drinagh site.
3. The new location offers employees a work environment superior to current conditions. Many employees have relocated since 1998 without compensation being paid.
The Court has considered the Union's claim for a relocation payment of €1,200.00 net to be paid to fifty eight laundry workers to move from the laundry located at St. Magdalen's to its plant located at Drinagh - a distance of 1.2 miles.
As the unit at St. Magdalen's was deemed to be uneconomic, the Company decided to close it down and centralise its business at Drinagh, thereby ensuring the security of employment for workers at St. Magdalen's. In response to the Union's claim the Company offered to provide a free bus service for a period of one year to those staff who wished to avail of transport for the extra distance involved.
The Court is of the view that there is no merit in the claim for a relocation payment in the circumstances prevailing in this case and, accordingly, rejects the Union's claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
7th October, 2005______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.