I move amendment No. 8:
Before section 4, to insert the following new section:
"4. (1) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) of Section 9 of the Principal Act, an employee shall be entitled to temminate his contract of employment in circumstances of uncertainty in which it is reasonable for the employee to anticipate dismissal for redundancy (whether or not he has received notice of dismissal or protective notice of dismissal or lay-off) if it is reasonable for the employee to expect that his remaining in the employment would seriously prejudice his prospects of obtaining suitable alternative employment which became available and was unlikely to remain vacant.
(2) Where, in the circumstances specified in this section the employee has received an offer in writing from the employer and on a reference to the Tribunal it appears to the Tribunal, having regard both to the reasons for which the employee seeks to leave the employment and those for which the employer requires him to continue in it, to be just and equitable that the employee should receive the whole or part of a redundancy payment, the Tribunal may determine that there shall be paid to the employee—
(a) the whole of the redundancy payment to which the employee would have been so entitled, or
(b) such part of that redundancy payment as the Tribunal thinks fit."
The Labour Party have put down this lengthy amendment to ensure that a worker anticipating with good reason that redundancy is pending—we are all aware that employers can very often create an air of uncertainty about this —should have the right to seek alternative employment and still receive either in whole or in part redundancy payments. At the present time if a person legitimately anticipating redundancy obtains alternative employment he automatically loses his redundancy benefits.
Most labour and trade union spokesmen agree it was unfortunate that the 1967 Act did not include the provision contained in section 20 of the Northern Ireland Act. Amendment No. 8 is, in fact, a rewrite of section 20 of that Act. In simple terms we want the worker who has sought alternative employment in anticipation of redundancy to have the right to apply to a tribunal for whole or part of the redundancy payment. The tribunal should investigate the case and determine whether or not such a payment should be made to the employee. We feel that workers in the Republic should be afforded the same opportunities as workers in Northern Ireland are under section 20 of the Northern Ireland Act. This would make the measure more flexible and it would give employers a greater incentive to be honest with workers and tell them what their prospects are. It would also act as an incentive to workers anticipating redundancy to seek alternative employment.