INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
JOHN WYETH & BROTHER LIMITED
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation R-034922-Ir-05/GF.
2. The Company is involved in the pharmaceutical sector and employes more than 3,250 people. The worker concerned was employed as a driver/warehousing operative in Ballymount for more than eight years. In 2004 the Company sought two voluntary redundancies in warehousing / distribution. The worker applied for redundancy but was unsuccessful. The Company later withdrew its offer as agreement could not be reached on the severance terms. Following talks at the Labour Relations Commission the Company made a redundancy proposal but with a cap of 1.5 years which was rejected by the Union. The Union claims that the worker spoke to management on a number of occasions, from December, 2004, until 4th of March, 2005, seeking redundancy. On the 4th of March, he told the Company that he was forced to resign and relocate to Kerry to be with his wife who had been transferred there as part of a decentralisation process. His last date of service was on the 11th of March, 2005.
The Union's case is that on the 18th of March, 2005, (one week later) the Company put forward new redundancy proposals at the Labour Relations Commission and that the Company had known about these proposals for some months previously but had not informed the worker. The Union was informed in early April, 2005, that there would be a contracting-out of the warehousing activities resulting in total redundancies in that sector.
The Union referred the worker's case to a Rights Commissioner and his Recommendation was as follows:-
" I have listened to this case carefully and I must come to the conclusion that this was a case of voluntary termination and despite the strong case made by the Union's representative it does not amount to his entitlement to the redundancy package".
The Union appealed the Recommendation to the Labour Court on the 16th of February, 2006, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 26th of May, 2006.
3. 1.It was only after three clarifications from the Company that he would not be eligible for redundancy that the worker finally left without any payment. Three weeks after he left the Union was informed that there would be total redundancies in the worker's section in warehousing.
2. When the Union asked the Company about its decision to contract-out the warehousing section it was told that the decision had been "on the cards for a number of months.".
4. 1. The worker resigned voluntarily from his position on the 11th of March, 2005. This was one month before the Company even announced itsproposalto outsource the warehousing function.
2. The Company / Union agreement on severance terms relates only to warehousing staff whose position became redundant between 1st July, 2005, and the 8th of August, 2005, as a result of the outsourcing.
The Court upholds the principle of the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation that the claimant has not established a case for payment of the Company redundancy package. Given the circumstances of his departure, however, the Court feels that his unfortunate situation and subsequent period of unemployment were not helped by the way events transpired between the Company and the Union. Accordingly, the Court awards him the sum of €2,000 in full and final settlement of the matter.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
12th June, 2006.______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.