EMPLOYMENT APPEALS TRIBUNAL
Kevin Anthony McColgan
Wood Group Industrial Services Limited
UNFAIR DISMISSALS ACTS 1977 TO 2007
I certify that the Tribunal
(Division of Tribunal)
Chairman: Mr. T. Ryan
Members: Mr. J. O'Neill
Ms. N. Greene
heard this claim at Dublin on 14th April 2016 and 13th June 2016 and 14th June 2016
Claimant(s) : Ms Liz Murray, SIPTU, Liberty Hall, Eden Quay, Dublin 1
Respondent(s) : Mr. Paul Leneghan, Woodgroup Industrial Services Limited, St. Omers Road , Gateshead NE11 9EZ.
The determination of the Tribunal was as follows:
It was agreed to amend the respondent’s name as listed above.
The first named claimant commenced employment with the respondent on 2nd March 2006 and was dismissed by reason of redundancy on 5th December 2014. Initially the claimant worked on a site based in Dublin but due to the completion of the Dublin project, he continued his employment on a site in Cork. The Operations Manager (DO’L) told the Tribunal that as a result of safety concerns in terms of claimant 1 travelling from Dublin to Cork in the early hours of a Monday morning, he was selected for redundancy which he duly accepted. Although the Operations Manager was not involved in the selection for redundancy and not involved in the matrix used, he said the main reason claimant 1 was selected was on safety grounds regarding travel. As it was the Operations Director (DB) who took the decision in relation to selection it was agreed that he would be present on day two to give evidence as well as those involved in the matrix scoring.
The claimants’ representative argued that the claimants’ were not consulted in relation to the redundancy and did not receive a copy of the matrix used. The people and not the positions were made redundant in this case.
The operations director DB gave evidence. When he joined the respondent there were 85 employees in Dublin and perhaps 35 in Cork. During 2013 it became apparent that the operation in Dublin was no longer commercially viable. The claimants were the last personnel in Dublin. They were offered employment in Cork and accepted in even though both continued to be based in Dublin.
At an earlier date the claimants’ had indicated that they would like to be paid redundancy and enabled to return to Dublin. At that time a redundancy situation did not exist.
In November 2014 the respondent had one remaining client and this client reduced its demand for work. DB issued letters to 4 scaffold operators that he had decided to make redundant. He chose the claimants on the basis that they were unhappy working in Cork and also on the basis that because they lived in Dublin they could not provide weekend cover when this was required.
In making his decision DB did not consult with either claimant. He did not inform them of the skill sets or of the requirement to provide weekend cover that formed the basis of his decision.
The claimants’ former union representative gave evidence. They contacted him some time before their employment ended when they were on temporary lay-off and had temporary employment in Dublin. The respondent wanted them to return to work in Cork. Both men, while they would have preferred to continue working in Dublin, resumed their positions with the respondent. He was clear that neither claimant wanted to be made redundant.
Claimant 1 gave evidence. He was not unhappy working in Cork he worked there for 2 and1/2 years and being there cost him money. He is living in Dublin and disagreed with the respondent over payments for travel and lodge. He believed the payments should be tax free while the respondent thought otherwise.
The possibility of redundancy was never discussed with him. He was never informed of the selection procedure used to select him for redundancy. He was not at work on 11 November 2014 when the letter informing him of his redundancy issued. There had been 10 scaffolders employed by the respondent. Four were made redundant. Claimant 1 had longer service than some of those retained. He did receive training but did not get his scaffolder ticket until after his redundancy. He worked as a general operative for the respondent.
Claimant 2 gave evidence. He had a conversation with DB the operations director on 7 November 2014. He did not want to be made redundant. He had security working for the respondent.
He worked for the respondent from 2004. In 2005 he was made a supervisor but after 9 years that role was taken from him and his pay was reduced. He is a ticketed scaffolder and therefore there is no higher qualification that he knows of for a scaffolder.
He did say that he found working in Cork difficult as he is living in Dublin but he did work there and he worked at other locations when required. Working in the UK was discussed but he had been in Ireland since 2002 and wished to remain.
He did not want to lose his job. DB never explained to him why he was made redundant.
The Tribunal carefully considered the evidence adduced in this case. The Tribunal accepts that due to a fall in business a redundancy situation existed, that resulted in 4 members of staff losing their positions.
In considering the reasonableness of the selection of the claimants for redundancy in a situation where a number of other employees were retained in employment the Tribunal must consider two issues namely, whether the respondent adopted reasonable criteria for selection, and whether those reasonable criteria were reasonably and fairly applied in respect of each individual claimant in this case.
In making the claimants redundant the respondent did not rely on objective criteria for selection. The operations director believed the claimants would welcome the termination of their employment without ever verifying this view with them. There was no consultation with the claimants in advance of their redundancy. The evidence concerning the reasons for selecting the claimants was inconsistent and lacking in clarity. Accordingly the Tribunal finds that both claimants were unfairly selected for redundancy. Both claims under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2007 succeed. Claimant 1 is awarded the sum of €14,000.00 and Claimant 2 is awarded the sum of €14,040.00.
Sealed with the Seal of the
Employment Appeals Tribunal