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Sunday 4 December 2016

No 'exit' package for workers who won't move jobs

Breda Heffernan and Anne-Marie Walsh

Published 05/08/2011 | 05:00

PUBLIC sector workers will not be given a special "exit package" if they refuse to move to another job in the state sector as part of the Croke Park Agreement.

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The Labour Court has also recommended that workers who resist redeployment should not be given the option of staying within their current organisation or seeking an alternative transfer to the one offered.

This will have major repercussions for the Government's redeployment plan, which is one of the major reforms promised in the Croke Park deal.

The agreement says public servants must co-operate with redeployment to avoid compulsory redundancies.

Trade union IMPACT took a case to the Labour Court on behalf of clerical and administrative workers in the Community Welfare Service (CWS) division of the Health Service Executive (HSE) who are being transferred to the Department of Social Protection.

It argued that workers should be given the option of remaining within the HSE, be offered alternative redeployment outside of the department or else an "exit" scheme.

Some 1,000 workers have already moved from the HSE to the department to help with the extra workload due to rising unemployment.

However, thousands more could be on the move as the Government has signalled there will be "significant redeployment" and this case will act as a precedent.

In its recommendation, seen by the Irish Independent, the Labour Court said workers being transferred should neither benefit nor lose out from the move, with all terms and conditions such as pay, pensions and sick leave entitlements remaining the same.

It also said that workers who don't want to be redeployed cannot be offered an exit package, saying it does not consider it a "viable option at this time".

It also rejected making transfers "optional" as this would not be consistent with the Croke Park terms or intent.

Issues

The HSE had said the provisions of the agreement do not allow for staff who didn't want to be redeployed to be given other options. It also said the CWS division will cease to exist once all staff are transferred.

The court also recommended that discussions between the two sides should begin immediately and must conclude by mid-September. It said it will continue to be available to the parties to resolve any outstanding issues after that date.

Several hundred workers have already been moved from FAS to the Department of Social Protection while the staff at UCD have been warned that they will face mandatory redeployment if they do not voluntarily move to other jobs within the university.

Irish Independent

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