INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
2. The dispute concerns two workers who had been employed as Regional Managers with Barnardos. In November, 2003, Barnardos announced that it would abolish six posts of Regional Manager and replace them with four posts of Regional Director at a higher salary. The four new posts were to be filled by internal competition among the six existing Regional Managers. In the event, the two workers concerned chose not to apply for the two posts and sought redundancy. Barnardos has offered statutory redundancy only to the two workers whereas the Union is seeking 4 weeks' pay per year of service plus statutory.
The workers referred their case to the Union and it became the subject of two conciliation conferences. As the parties could 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 3rd of October, 2005, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. All six Regional Manager posts were abolished as a matter of policy and not out of necessity. As such there was no redeployment. There was no voluntary element to the redundancies.
2. Barnardos is an organisation which repeatedly affirms a policy of valuing and rewarding staff. Its approach to this redundancy calls into question the sincerity of its approach.
3. In 1994 Barnardos paid 3 weeks' pay per year of service plus statutory for voluntary redundancies. In the current circumstances it is totally unreasonable to pay only statutory redundancy to the two workers.
4. 1. Barnardos is a voluntary not-for-profit organisation which operates within very tight financial constraints. Over the last few years it has experienced enormous difficulties in securing an appropriate level of funding.
2. The organisation had no alternative but to make some staff redundant in 2003. It informed staff that statutory redundancy onlywould be paid and received no response or objection. This has been the practice since July, 2003.
3. The two workers chose freely of their own volition not to apply for the four posts of Regional Director.
The Union, on behalf of two Regional Managers, sought a redundancy payment over and above statutory redundancy payment. These redundancies arose due to the organisation's decision to abolish their posts and replace them with fewer posts at a higher level. The organisation declined to pay an enhanced package but offered to pay a subsidy to assist the claimants in the educational studies which they are currently undertaking.
Having considered the submissions of both sides, the Court recommends that an ex gratia payment of two weeks' pay per year of service, without ceiling, should be paid in addition to the statutory redundancy payments already paid.
At the hearing, the Union raised an issue concerning outstanding increases due under Sustaining Progress or Benchmarking. This issue was not raised at conciliation and was not referred to the Court as an agreed item by both parties. Therefore, as the issue was not properly before the Court it has not dealt with it in this recommendation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
19th October, 2005______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.