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Luas Dispute; “Protective Notice”

It has been widely reported that the ongoing saga with the Luas workers and their dispute about pay, has resulted in their employer ‘placing staff on protective notice’.

Interestingly, in Irish law there is no such thing as protective notice, yet it is a term widely used and linked to redundancy situations. Legally there is no such thing. It is normally reported as being used in the context of providing information to employees to alert them to the prospect of redundancies, but is not defined by statute and therefore has no legal meaning.

So, it is interesting that, in a heated dispute such as this, an employer is said to be threatening redundancy where it is reported that this is a pay and conditions dispute.

Additionally, it is a well established principle in redundancy situations, that redundancy be a solution of last resort and that all other options must first be considered. Redundancy is intended to be a highly impersonal solution in that “ you go for the ball not the man”.  You choose people according to specific criteria in a specifically impersonal way. Indeed, as an employer, if you are found to have targeted an individual and not applied the relevant criteria fairly then you are open to not only criticism but to the redundancy being found invalid and to a potential claim for unfair dismissal. Could threatening redundancy in a  dispute over pay and conditions be deemed a punishment of these employees?

The employer is also reported in the Luas dispute to have threatened pay cuts for part performed work duties.

If what is reported is accurate, the employer is pulling out all the stops here.  Would they go so far as to dismiss employees for non performance of their contracts? Only time will tell.


Sonya Morrissy Murphy

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Should you require any more information on employment or employment related matters please contact our employment and litigation expert, Sonya Morrissy Murphy, litigation manager at Keating Connolly Sellors on 061 414355 or by email at [email protected].

Published On: April 19, 2016

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