The case of Neil Whittle v Dunmore East Fisherman’s Co-operative Society Limited UD 847/2010 sent on 20th August 2012 concerned a claim of unfair selection for redundancy. The Claimant in this case accepted the need for redundancies and was part of the team deciding on the cost cutting measures which included a reduced hours programme.
The Claimant was informed that he would have to reduce his hours and take a 20% pay reduction. The Claimant responded on 26th August 2008 querying whether other office staff members had their hours and salaries reduced and stated that he would consider his position further upon receipt of a response. Short time hours had been discussed with the Claimant but he refused the offer stating it was a 24 hour job. At the January 2009 board meeting it was proposed to make four staff redundant and at end of July 2009 it was decided to make the Claimant redundant along with the last landing operative. It was reported that the Chairman now fulfills the Claimant’s role as well as his own duties. Prior to taking up the Claimant’s duties the Chairman was in receipt of €15,000 for his role as Chairman/CEO and now earns €30,000.
In 2002 when the then Chairman retired the Claimant took over the duties until a new Chairman was appointed 9 months later and in 2003 the Claimant applied for the role of CEO but was unsuccessful. When the CEO left in 2006 the Claimant did not take over the role and it was decided that the Chairman should take a more active role in the operation of the Respondent so on the CEO’s exit in 2006 the Chairman was granted a salary of €15,000 and took over those duties.
In his evidence the Claimant stated that upon being told by the Chairman that his role was to be made redundant, he offered to do the job for half his salary.
- The Respondent had a need to make staff redundant due to economic difficulties.
- The selection of the Claimant for redundancy was not unfair as there was no suitable alternative employment to offer the Claimant other than the role of CEO or employment at a salary of €15,000.
- The Respondent was entitled to retain its CEO as the input of the CEO is crucial in efforts to save the Respondent’s enterprise doing forward.
- The Tribunal is not satisfied the Claimant would have worked for the considerably lower salary that the CEO earned and that the Claimant would have worked for €15,000.
The Claimant was not unfairly dismissed but dismissed on the grounds of redundancy and the claim under the Unfair Dismissal Acts 1977 to 2007 fails.