A food production company that moved its warehouse 22km for logistics purposes was forced to pay seven staff members a total of €35,000 between them in relocation expenses.

The move, from Causeway to Tralee, Co. Kerry, impacted the workers differently depending on where the individuals lived. Services Industrial Professional Technical Union (SIPTU) sought relocation expenses but the dispute could not be resolved at local level as the Kerry food producer was concerned that conceding would have knock-on effects within the entire Group. The Company also felt that the move was not far enough to warrant paying out relocation expenses and that paying a large sum in compensation would be excessive given the economic climate at the time.

The dispute became the subject of a Conciliation Conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission, however, as agreement was not reached, it was referred to the Labour Court on 31st January 2014. In accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990, a Labour Court Hearing took place on 17th April 2014.

The Court considered the submissions of the Company as well as the Union and noted that, while the distance was not a particularly significant one, the workers were entitled to receive some sort of compensation in response to the warehouse relocation. The Court also noted that employees personally helped the Company by transferring stock from the original premises to the new one. The workers involved exhibited a significant level of cooperation with their employer and the Court recommended that the Company should pay a figure of €5,000 to each of the seven claimants in full and final settlement of their claim.

The HR Company: Services and Costs