INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
GREAT SOUTHERN HOTELS
(REPRESENTED BY BDO SIMPSON XAVIER)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
TRANSPORT SALARIED STAFFS' ASSOCIATION
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Issues arising from proposed sale of Great Southern Hotels.
2. Great Southern Hotels ("GSH") is a subsidiary group of the Dublin Airport Authority plc ("DAA"). It comprises of 8 hotels, three at the State airport, Dublin, Cork and Shannon) two in Kerry (Killarney and Parknasilla), two in Galway, Eyre Square and Corrib) and one in Rosslare, Co. Wexford. There is also a stake in a hotel in Derry.
The hotels are State assets with a number of stakeholders including the Government as ultimate shareholder, the DAA as the owner of the Group and Board of GSH and GSH's employees.
The GSH Group has been loss making for a number of years. In January 2006 the GSH Board concluded that the only viable option in the interest of all stakeholders was to dispose of the assets as a going concern. The GSH Board was advised that in order to appropriately discharge the mandate, the hotels should be offered for sale by public tender in one or more lots by way of assets sale/transfer of business. The tender date has been extended to 28th July 2006.
Negotiations between the parties which took place at ConciliationConferences under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission have been prolonged and intensive leading up to the formulation of a draft agreement covering all aspects of the discussions such as severance/"loyalty" payments etc. The issues still in dispute relate to (a) a claim by SIPTU that new employees after the date of transfer will be covered by the collective agreements currently in place between SIPTU and GSH; (b) that the new owner(s) will set up a pension scheme for existing and new employees with the same contribution level from both employee and employer.
The Company's position is that the terms of Transfer of Undertaking will apply on sale of the Hotels. The sale may comprise one transaction or a number of transaction with a number of buyers.
As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 7th July, 2006 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 19th July, 2006. The following is the Court's recommendation:-
Having considered the extensive submissions made to it by the parties, the Court makes the following recommendations on the basis of industrial relations and industry norms, whilst recognising the 2003 TUPE regulations and the parties' positions thereon:-
1. It should be a condition of the sale that the new owner(s) recognise the existing trade unions for collective bargaining purposes. Should there be such a request, the new owner(s) and the trade unions should, within a period of 4 months, negotiate an agreement on terms and conditions of employment which should apply going forward. If no new agreement has been negotiated after 4 months, the matter can be referred back to the Court for final recommendation. The Court would be prepared to issue such a recommendation on a binding basis under Section 20(2) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969, should the parties so agree.
2. The new owner(s) should establish a defined contribution pension scheme for all former employees of the former GSH Hotels, with the same employer and employee contributions as apply in the current Great Southern Hotels pension scheme. Admission for new entrants to the above scheme should be on the same basis as per new entrants to the current scheme.
3. The calculation of redundancy pay in terms of service and the rate for calculation purposes should be in accordance with the provisions of the Redundancy Payments Acts (1967-2003), taking full service into account from start of employment. Service should be calculated pro rata for those in seasonal and/or part time employment.
4. The Court commends this recommendation to the parties and urges an early decision and cooperation with the expeditious sale of the hotels.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
26th July, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.