Tribunal rules against blood service


A woman employed by the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) on a specified-purpose contract was entitled to redundancy when she was let go, an Employment Appeals Tribunal found today.

Chairman of the tribunal, Dermot McCarthy said the tribunal did not “use the word ‘suppressed’” in relation to posts unfilled due to the moratorium on jobs in the public service.

“That is why we are finding in her favour,” he said.

Connie McEvoy, from Artane in Dublin, took a claim for statutory redundancy along with two colleagues, Catherine McAuliffe and Celine Broughan, after all three were dismissed on the same day in October 2010.

The women were employed as donor attendants in the IBTS clinic on D’Olier Street. Ms McEvoy had two contracts – the first began in August 2006 and the second, from September 2007, involved filling in for a colleague who was on a five-year career break.

Deirdre Canty from Siptu, representing the three women, told the tribunal the colleague on career break had been told to return to work after two years, but was living abroad and decided not to come home. Ms McEvoy was then told that because the woman had resigned, there was no job for her to fill in.

Ms Canty said what had happened to Ms McEvoy was “downsizing” and therefore attracted redundancy under the Redundancy Acts.

Claire Hellen, for the IBTS, argued the organisation could not fill the post because it was covered by the moratorium on recruitment in the public service. But the post had not gone. “That post was suppressed,” she said.

Ms Hellen also denied the departure of all three women at the same time had anything to do with the restructuring of the organisation in autumn of 2010.

“It’s a coincidence only,” she said.

After deliberation, the tribunal ruled in favour of Ms McEvoy. Mr McCarthy said the effect of not filling the position temporarily filled by Ms McEvoy was that numbers employed by the IBTS had been reduced. This entitled her to redundancy.

The tribunal did not make a decision in respect of the other two women, saying it needed more time to tease the cases out. Ms McEvoy, who is unemployed but had earned almost €550 a week, will be entitled to statutory redundancy of two weeks’ pay per year of service, plus an additional week.

Speaking afterwards, she said she had waited two years for the hearing and was happy she got what she deserved, though she would have preferred to have her job back.