INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Redundancy / Compensation.
2. In 2002 the Company's main Pork Processing facility at Rooskey Co. Roscommon was destroyed by fire leaving only the Cannery division in operation. The Company has now decided to close the Cannery due to a reduced market and poor profitability. The Company has offered a redundancy package of 4.5 weeks' pay per year of service inclusive of statutory entitlements with a cap of €77,000 to workers (similar to that agreed in 2003 for the workers made redundant as a result of the fire). The Union is claiming 7.75 weeks' pay per year of service inclusive of statutory entitlement with no cap (this claim was based on the agreement reached between the Union and NEC which was the last major closure in the Midlands). Local discussions were not successful and the dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. Two Conciliation Conferences were held following which, proposals of the Industrial Relations Officer recommended for acceptance by the parties were rejected following a ballot of the workforce. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 16th January, 2007 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Court hearing was held on the 31st January, 2007.
3. 1. The 2003 redundancy package was voluntary and based on the expectation that the plant would be developed. On this occasion the redundancies are compulsory.
2. The Company is a multinational and the site at Rooskey is very valuable if sold for development.
3. The Company received a very large insurance settlement following the fire which was not invested in the site either to develop product or to secure the business.
4. Since 2003 the Company has concluded severance packages greater than that proposed by the I.R.O. such as at the Company's Arklow site. (LCR 18194 refers).
5. The Claimants, since the fire, demonstrated a commitment to the Company and a willingness to work with it to develop the business by not seeking voluntary redundancy at the time. They further demonstrated their commitment over the last three years by accepting long periods of short-time working without compensation for loss of earnings or attempting to re-open the previous voluntary redundancy package.
4. 1. The redundancy package claimed by the Union is based on the NEC settlement and is rejected by the Company on the basis that the Company operated in an entirely different sector that was more profitable and had no relevance to the meat industry.
2. The Arklow settlement (LCR 18194) is also rejected by the Company because that operation was a different division of Glanbia which operates at different margins with different cost structures to the meat division. Secondly, it was a restructuring of the business and a rationalisation with a view to the return of the business. It also involved significant work practice changes etc,. More importantly though, the parties involved in that dispute at that time could not reach any agreement at Conciliation, which broke down and had to be referred on to the Labour Court, without any recommendation on either side, at the Conciliation Conference.
3. The Union has negotiated a severance package of 3 weeks' pay per year of service with a cap of €65,000 with another company locally which had closed after a fire. This was a business which was more profitable than the Cannery.
The Court notes that the proposals to resolve this dispute were formulated at conciliation and were recommended for acceptance. In the Court's view these proposals were reasonable and the Court cannot see any compelling case for further improvements.
However, in the interests of bringing finality to this dispute the Court recommends that the rate of pay for the purpose of calculations should be that applicable on the date the redundancies take effect. The Court further recommends that the lump sum element of the package negotiated at conciliation be modified as follows:-
40 years + €5,900
30 years + €4,700
20 years + 3,500
10 years +€2,350
With these modifications in mind the package which was agreed in conciliation should be accepted.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
6th February, 2007______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.