Rights Commissioner Ruling on Dell Redundancy Process.
DELL has been ordered to pay 28 former members of staff up to €40,000 between them following a ruling by the Rights Commissioner.
A group 28 former employees of the computer giant - which announced job cuts of 1,900 last January - claimed that the computer giant had contravened sections nine and ten of the Protection of Employment Act 1977. This states that, where an employer proposes to create collective redundancies, it will initiate consultations with employee’s representatives, with a view to avoidance, mitigation, and consultation. It also states that the employer concerned will supply the employee’s representatives with all relevant information relating to these redundancies. However, Dell have confirmed they are planning to appeal the decision, which means no money will be paid until an appeal is complete.
In a written judgement, Michael J Rooney, the rights commissioner here concluded: "that because of its actions on January 8, 2009 (when Dell announced its cutbacks] and in particularly because of the terms of the individual letters of that date, the company has indeed contravened that section (nine]."
He ordered that Dell now pay the 28 employees who submitted a case to the commissioner two weeks wages, which would average out at between €1,000 and €1,500 for each worker.
When Dell initially announced its job cuts in January, as it relocated its manufacturing operations to Poland, it gave each manufacturing employee a letter giving details of the company's severance package. Peter O'Brien, representing the Dell Workers said that this contravened section nine of the act, with the company's "inadequate" actions thereafter also going against section ten.
However, Mark Connaughton, representing Dell, argued that the company had complied with its obligations under the act. The judgment read: "It had made clear to all employees that consultations would commence immediately after the announcement, it had responded favourably to certain of the representations subsequently made to it, and accordingly it believed that it had complied fully with the act."
Under the regulations set down by the Rights Commissioner, Dell staff have only six months from the announcement of job losses to make a claim through this board. This has prevented many more of Dell's staff benefiting from this windfall.
In a statement, Dell welcomed some of the positive feedback they had received from the rights commissioner. "The Rights Commissioner was extremely positive about many aspects of the process of individual and Team Consultations which took place over a three month period and resulted in substantial changes to the Company's severance programme. The Company's priority over the past 11 months has been to work closely with its employees to provide them with the support they needed during this difficult period. Their positive feedback and professionalism throughout the process was encouraging. The positive endorsement of the Rights Commissioner further underlines that the consultation process and support for the company's employees was comprehensive. "
"As a major employer in the mid-west with over 1,000 employees in areas such as global supply chain management, global IT services & solutions, HR, finance and product development the company is now focused on building a strong future for its operations in Limerick."