Redundancy among SIPTU workers up 32% last year
Almost 4,500 SIPTU members were made redundant last year at 110 companies, according to a union review of redundancy settlements. This is 32 per cent more than in 2000, when 3,420 members were made redundant in 74 companies.
While the figures are high and SIPTU is seen as a union with a large membership in traditional, vulnerable areas such as textiles, they are well below the national figure of almost 20,000, an increase of 49 per cent, in the number of redundancies experienced across the economy. The figures also show that well over 90 per cent of SIPTU members received significantly more than the statutory minimum payments.
The poorest sector was agriculture, where the average redundancy payment was one week's pay per year of service. (The statutory entitlement is half a week's pay for each year of service to 41, and one week's pay for each year of service for workers aged 41 or over.) SIPTU members in textiles received an average of two weeks' pay per year of service. Those in clothing and transport received an average of three weeks' pay per year of service.
Workers in construction, distributive trades, food, the public sector, printing and paper received an average of four weeks' pay per year of service.
The comparatively low figure for public sector workers is largely accounted for by the mass redundancies at Aer Lingus. The best redundancy packages secured by SIPTU were in the drinks and tobacco sector, with 5.5 weeks' per year of service and electronics with six weeks' pay.
The general secretary of the union, Mr John McDonnell, said many of the settlements, especially for lower-paid workers, underlined the need for the Government to improve statutory redundancy payments, which have remained unchanged since the early 1980s.