Monday 31 March 2008

“It now looks likely that most redundancies will be compulsory”.

Mandate trade union today (31 March 2008) say that they are extremely disappointed with Arnotts proposed redundancy package for its 580 staff members. The proposal came out of talks in the Labour Relations Commission earlier today.

Mandate now feels that the majority of redundancies will be of a compulsory nature as opposed to the voluntary solution the company had insisted they were hoping for.

Mandate’s Assistant General Secretary, Linda Tanham said, “We were hopeful going into talks following statements from Arnotts Chairperson, Richard Nesbitt saying they ‘hoped’ the majority of redundancies would be voluntary. It now looks likely that almost all redundancies will be compulsory.”

The proposed redundancy package for Arnotts staff includes six weeks pay for every year’s service however, there will be a cap of €60,000 for all staff members.

Mandate claim that this is the only capped redundancy package in the history of the retail sector and this is wholly unacceptable considering Arnotts is such a profitable company.

“Arnotts has been extremely profitable over the last number of years, so much so in fact that the company can now invest in building the Northern Quarter, a €1 billion project. Part of the reason for this success is down to the hard work of staff members, some of whom have invested over thirty years of their lives in the company. It’s a shame that Arnotts have decided to cap in monetary terms the contribution of these staff members.” said Ms Tanham.

Mandate maintains that Arnotts should recognise the input the staff members have made over the last number of years and remove the cap on redundancy payments.

“Some members of staff may find it difficult to obtain employment following these redundancies, and for long serving members of staff, the cap will have a huge effect. By removing the cap, it would have a minimal financial effect on the company especially in comparison with the investment the company is making in the Northern Quarter,” added Ms Tanham.

“If Mr Nesbitt’s statements last month are genuine, whereby he said the decision to reduce staff numbers was taken with regret and that he hoped for voluntary redundancies then we feel he should remove the cap. This decision needs be made soon because the closure of the stores is imminent,” concluded Ms Tanham.