Date Released: 14 March 2017
SIPTU representatives have criticised the recent ‘temporary layoff’ of 14 union members by the management of Taravale in Naas, County Kildare, as possibly an attempt to conceal a redundancy situation.
SIPTU Organiser, Frank Jones, said: “Last Monday (6th March), our members at Taravale were placed on ‘temporary layoff'. However, the workers believe that management is abusing this arrangement as they believe that there is nothing temporary about their situation as the food preparation company appears to have no orders on its books. The workers are of the view that whatever business that the company currently has is being undertaken at a second site in Galway.
“The Taravale plant has been supplying fresh and convenience foods to supermarkets since 1992. In recent years the company has been in financial and trading difficulties. Being placed on temporary layoff leaves our members with no income in the short-term.
“The legislation governing the arrangement provides our members with the ability to apply for ‘voluntary redundancy’ after four weeks and employees are not entitled to pay during this period. It is the clear view of our members that the employer has engaged in this tactic as a means of delaying, reducing or avoiding its financial obligations to them.”
He added: “While many of the members affected are eligible for social welfare payments they have been informed by the local social welfare office that their claims cannot be processed until the end of this month. This has left the workers and their families in real and immediate financial hardship.
“Discussions between SIPTU representatives and management last week did not result in any progress. The matter has now been referred to the Workplace Relations Commission. We are calling on the employer to face up to its responsibilities to these workers. SIPTU representatives are now also engaging with local politicians in an effort to reduce the waiting time before these workers are able to secure their social welfare entitlements.”