Neville v Waters Munster Glass Ltd

JurisdictionIreland
CourtEmployment Appeal Tribunal (Ireland)
Judgment Date30 Jun 2005
Judgment citation (vLex)[2005] 6 JIEC 3002

Employment Appeals Tribunal

EAT: Neville v Waters Munster Glass Ltd

Abstract:

EAT - Employment law - Redundancy - Whether there was a genuine redundancy of the claimant's position.

EMPLOYMENT APPEALS TRIBUNAL

CLAIM OF:

CASE NO.

Brian Neville, Maryville, 15 Summerhill, St Lukes,

RP558/2003

Cork

MN2453/2003

UD1096/2003

against

Waters Minister Glass Limited, John F Connelly Road,

Churchfield, Cork

under

MINIMUM NOTICE AND TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT ACTS, 1973 TO 2001

REDUNDANCY PAYMENTS ACTS, 1967 TO 2003

UNFAIR DISMISSALS ACTS, 1977 TO 2001

I certify that the Tribunal

(Division of Tribunal)

Chairman:

Mr L. Ó Catháin

Members:

Ms M. Sweeney

Ms H. Kelleher

heard this claim at Cork on 30th August 2004

and 18th January 2005

and 15th April 2005

Facts A shareholder of the respondent company gave evidence that the company experienced serious financial difficulties in June 2003. He stated that the claimant refused to accept a reduction in salary and further refused to work a three day week. The witness stated that since the claimant was not willing to compromise, he had no option but to make him redundant. The claimant was paid one months notice and he calculated his own redundancy. The claimant alleged that he received written notification that his position was being made redundant following his refusal to accept a wage cut. However he felt that he was dismissed rather than made redundant.

Held by the Tribunal in dismissing the claimant's case: That a genuine redundancy existed in this case. The claimant received his entitlements and accordingly his claims failed.

The determination of the Tribunal was as follows:-
Respondent's case:
1

The Tribunal heard evidence from the managing director of the WMG group and shareholder of the respondent company. In June 2003 the company was in serious financial difficulty and insurance costs were also crippling the glass industry. The company had to look at ways of reducing overheads and this included staff numbers. A total of twenty five staff were made redundant and they also dispensed with the use of company cars and trucks. In August 2003 witness bought out the major shareholder and then set about re-structuring the company. The union sought a 4% wage increase for its members which the company could not afford to pay and following discussions the union agreed not to proceed with their requested wage increase and to co-operate with the planned redundancies. The directors and managers were aware of the financial state of the company and as the claimant was involved in the financial area and reported to witness and the chairman, he too was fully aware.

2

Meetings were held wit the claimant and the overall plan was presented to him which included a proposal that all management were to take a wage cut. All of the individuals involved except the claimant agreed to the wage cut. Other cost cutting measures were introduced in relation to the use of motor vehicles for official purposes. The claimant was also given the option to work on a three day week but he refused. The claimant knew what needed to be done for the sake of the company and everybody suffered a “little pain”. Since he was not willing to compromise there was no option but to make the claimant redundant in July 2003. Witness took over some of the claimant's work in the first few months following his redundancy and there was pressure mounting from the banks seeking end of month figures. In September a pan-time consultant was taken on and worked for a period of five or six months. After some time the accounts were showing a small profit with witness and a colleague putting personal funds into the company in addition to other investors also coming on board. The claimant was paid one months notice and he calculated his own redundancy. He was paid an additional amount over and above the statutory redundancy however the claimant was not happy as he felt this additional figure ought to have been calculated in line with that of a director. In a year when bonuses and salary increases related to the performance of the company the claimant was the only one who sought payment of bonus/salary increase even though they were showing losses rather than a profit

3

In cross-examination witness told the Tribunal that in September the company was showing a profit and a consultant was employed in September 2003. This person was taken on as an employee in April 2004. He worked initially on a two day week basis and then progressed to a three day...

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