Redundant seasonal workers treated fairly

Cases

Redundant seasonal workers treated fairly

The redundancy method by which the sugar mill workers' employment was terminated was, overall, fair and reasonable and designed to select the persons with the best skills for the available positions.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

12/03

 

The redundancy method by which the sugar mill workers' employment was terminated was, overall, fair and reasonable and designed to select the persons with the best skills for the available positions. 

The AIRC noted that the workers had relatively short years of service due, at least in part, to the seasonal nature of the sugar industry's crushing season. Taking this into account, the benefits offered were reasonable. 

Background

The workers sought relief following their redundancies at a sugar mill. They were given six months’ notice, more than was required under the terms of the redundancy agreement. 

Conclusions 

The Commission found that in this case, the rationalisation of the workforce was a consequence of the financial pressures on the employer created by a competitive market in sugar and the need to change its staffing requirements. 

The reasons for the redundancies were based on the operational requirements of the employer’s business and were sound, defensible and well-founded. 

The Commission was satisfied that the dismissals were not capricious, fanciful, spiteful or prejudiced.

The Commission dismissed claims that the workers were discriminated against due to their membership of the union or otherwise. The workers, despite their skills and experience, were found to be not the best applicants for the available positions. There was a valid reason for the redundancies.

A 'fair go all round' was afforded to the workers both procedurally and substantively leading up to and during the redundancy selection process. Each had the opportunity to be tested and interviewed consistently with other applicants for the available positions. The same selection process used with respect to the applicants was also used at the Condong Mill in 2003 for the number one steam operator's position.

The termination of employment of the workers was not harsh, unjust or unreasonable. There were valid and considered reasons for each of the redundant worker's termination of employment, related to the employer's operational requirements.

The applications were dismissed.

See: Peter Marskell, Michael Robinson and Rodney Trevena v NSW Sugar Milling Co-Operative Pty Ltd - AIRC (Hoffman C) - PR941444 - 1 December 2003.

 

Post details