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: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Redundancy Payments
2. The case before the Court concerns a dispute between the Company and SIPTU, TEEU and AMICUS in relation to redundancy terms applicable to employees of the Company. The Company, Archer Daniels Midland Ringaskiddy (ADM) is a subsidiary of the ADM Company of Illinois and took over operations at the Ringaskiddy plant from the Pfizer group in 1990. In September 2005, it was announced that the plant would close with immediate effect. Negotiations began in terms of the redundancies and there were also a number of conciliation conferences under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission on the issues in dispute but agreement was not reached. The Union is seeking €3,750 per year of service for its members.
Management had offered €3000 per completed year of service to its employees inclusive of statutory entitlements and to pay pension entitlements where applicable.
The Unions referred the matter to the Labour Court on 8th December 2005 in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969 and agreed to be bound by the recommendation of the Court.
The Company wrote to the Labour Court on 3rd February 2006 confirming that the plant was closed and that all redundancy payments had been made as well as pension payments where applicable and it would not be attending a hearing of the Labour Court on the matter.
The Labour Court hearing took place on 16th June, 2006.
3. 1. The decision of management to close the plant was done unilaterally. There was no option to review practices or to consider restructuring with a view to preventing closure. This decision was made to maximise profits elsewhere.
2. Employees of the Company have endured a pay freeze since 2003. Management refused to apply wage increases due under Sustaining Progress but did not attempt to prove that they were unable to pay the increases.
3. The Company agreed to provide outplacing opportunities and financial advice to its workers. Subsequently the advice, which was to be provided from independent consultants, was provided from within the Company's own resources and was incorrect in many cases causing further financial difficulties for certain employees.
4. The claim for redundancy terms of €3750 per year of service for each staff member is fair and reasonable in the circumstances given the overall profits of the organisation as a whole.
The Court finds it regrettable that the employer failed to attend the hearing to investigate the Union’s claim. The employer did furnish the Court with a written statement setting out its position. The Union sought severance terms of €3750 per year of service for employees made redundant due to the closure of the Company.
The Company indicated in the statement that it had made an offer to pay €3000 per completed year of service inclusive of statutory redundancy entitlements, and that was its final offer. It stated that the Company is now closed; all employees have now been made redundant and have received their redundancy payments (calculated on the basis of the Company’s offer).
The Union stated to the Court that the decision to close the Company was delivered as afait accompli;no effort was made to review practices, in order to save jobs.
Taking account of all the points raised by the Union in their oral and written submission and the Company’s written statement, the Court finds in favour of the Union’s position and recommends concession of the claim.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
3rd July 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Andrew Heavey, Court Secretary.