Dáil Éireann - Volume 536 - 10 May, 2001
Written Answers - Employment Protection.
Mr. N. Ahern Mr. N. Ahern
 51. Mr. N. Ahern asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she will clarify the situation in relation to the right of an employer to close a business on ten minutes notice; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that 73 employees of a company (details supplied) were recently made redundant when management from Belfast arrived in the shops; if she will outline employee rights in this area; if she will make facilities of her Department available to staff regarding their entitlements; and if she will introduce legislation to prevent such behaviour by an employer in future. [13429/01]
Mr. T. Kitt Mr. T. Kitt
Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Mr. T. Kitt): Under section 9(1) of the Protection of Employment Act, 1977, employers who propose to create what are known as collective redundancies must consult the employees' representatives at least 30 days before the first dismissal takes place. Section 6(1) of that Act defines collective redundancy as dismissals for one or more reasons not related to the individual concerned, e.g. cessation of trading, rationalisation etc. Section 6(1) stipulates the minimum number of employees that must be affected in order to qualify as a collective redundancy – (a) at least five in an establishment normally employing more than 20 and fewer than 50 employees, (b) at least ten in an establishment normally employing at least 50 but fewer than 100 employees, (c) at least 10% of the number of employees in an establishment normally employing at least 100 but fewer than 300 employees, and (d) at least 30 in an establishment normally employing 300 or more employees.
Where an employer carries on business at more than one establishment, as the Act refers to it, as appears to be the case here, section 6(3)(f2>b) of the Act states that such an establishment, including wholesale or retail shops, shall be taken to be a separate location, with account being taken under section 6(3)(f2>c) of employees based at a particular establishment but who also perform some of their duties elsewhere. To date my Department has not received notification under the Act in respect of the company concerned.
Where the employee rights to consultation referred to above have been contravened, it is open to an employee concerned or to a trade union, staff association or excepted body on behalf of an employee, to present a complaint to a Rights Commissioner under the European Communities (Protection of Employment) Regulations, 2000, made by me on 21 December last. The rights commissioner service is located in the Labour Relations Commission, Tom Johnson House, Haddington Road, Dublin 4 – phone (01) 6609662, Lo – Call 1890 220227. Under the new regulations also, a party concerned may appeal to the Employment Appeals Tribunal from a decision of the Rights Commissioner. Both the Labour Relations Commission and the Employment Appeals Tribunal are under my  remit. Inquiries about any payments in lieu of notice due to employees under the Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Acts, 1973 to 1991, may be directed to the employment rights information section of my Department. The address is Davitt House, Adelaide Road, Dublin 2, and the telephone No. is (01) 6313131. Additional information on the statutory right to a redundancy lump sum payment for all eligible employees under the Redundancy Payments Acts, 1967 to 1991, including a specially prepared booklet on the redundancy payments scheme prepared by my Department and available free of charge may also be obtained from this section. More complicated questions on the scheme may be addressed to redundancy payments section of my Department, also at Davitt House – telephone No. (01) 6312121.
Dáil Éireann 536 Written Answers Employment Protection.