Written Answers. - Redundancy Payments.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

181 Mr. Rabbitte asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the steps she proposes to take to assist the employees of a company (details supplied) to secure the redundancy payments recommended to them by the Labour Court and agreed to by the company, but subsequently defaulted on; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2982/03]

The company to which the Deputy refers has complied with its statutory requirements in paying statutory redundancy payments. A dispute between the employees and the company concerningex gratia redundancy payments in excess of the statutory entitlements was referred to the Labour Relations Commission, but agreement was not reached. The dispute was then referred to the Labour Court, which issued its recommendation on 16 May 2002. The company has not paid the ex gratia amounts recommended by the Labour Court.

The Labour Court operates as an industrial relations tribunal in trade disputes. In such cases, including this one, the court hears both sides and then issues a recommendation setting out its opinion on the dispute and the terms on which it considers the dispute should be settled. While these recommendations are not binding on the parties concerned the parties are expected to give serious consideration to the court's recommendation. The Labour Court cannot compel the company or the workers to comply with its recommendation. Ultimate responsibility for the settlement of a dispute rests with the parties.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

182 Mr. Connaughton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if the employees of a company (details supplied) in Ballinasloe, County Galway, which is closing in June, will be eligible for the new proposed statutory entitlements; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3020/03]

The proposed higher levels of statutory redundancy payments are subject to ratification by the social partners. It is my firm intention to bring these proposed statutory redundancy lump sum and rebate payments into effect at the earliest possible date. The necessary preparatory work, including the legislative framework and the updating of the IT facilities, is currently under way in my Department in anticipation of a favourable outcome to the ratification process. This work is being afforded top priority and every effort is being made to advance it as quickly as possible.