Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
955. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her views on the decision by a company (details supplied) to lay off all its employees based here while continuing to operate in Ireland with employees based outside the State; her further views on its announcement that redundancy paid to employees will be only statutory entitlements; her further views on the lack of consultation with employees regarding the plans; if the company contacted or informed her of its plans; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10902/20]
Firstly, I would like to say that my thoughts are with all CityJet workers who are faced with job losses at this difficult time. I wish to assure the affected workers that my Department is available through its Intreo service to assist them in whatever way we can in terms of income supports and job-seeking over the coming weeks and months.
When selecting a particular employee for redundancy, an employer is required to apply selection criteria that are reasonable and fair. An employee is entitled to submit a claim to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) under the Unfair Dismissals Acts if they believe they were unfairly selected for redundancy or consider that a genuine redundancy situation did not exist.
The Protection of Employment Act 1977 imposes a number of obligations on employers who are proposing collective redundancies, including an obligation under sections 9 and 10 to engage in an information and consultation process with employees’ representatives and to provide certain information relating to the proposed redundancies. Section 11A of the Act provides that, where an employee believes the employer to be in breach of sections 9 or 10, they may pursue a complaint to the WRC. It is an offence under the Act for an employer to fail to comply with sections 9 or 10.
There is also an obligation under section 12 which makes it mandatory on employers proposing a collective redundancy to notify the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection of the proposed collective redundancy. I received official notification of the proposed collective redundancies in CityJet in a letter dated 21 May 2020, which my officials inform me complied with the requirements under section 12 of the Protection of Employment Act 1977.
In relation to redundancy payments, an employer is only legally obliged to pay the statutory redundancy entitlement, as provided for in the Redundancy Payments Act 1967. Any arrangement outside statutory redundancy is a matter for negotiation and agreement between the employees (and their union representatives, where applicable) and the employer. In that context, Ireland has an advanced industrial relations framework, which includes potential assistance from the WRC, where required.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.