Dairygold secures order against ‘frivolous and vexatious’ claim

DAIRYGOLD yesterday secured a High Court order that a former worker’s claim for improved redundancy terms, along with an allegation there was a conspiracy between the company and the trade union involved, was frivolous and vexatious.

Counsel for the company Tom Mallon told the court the man’s redundancy payment was about €83,892 nett after deductions from a figure of €129,474. The court also heard there were 26 similar cases pending and these were adjourned for two weeks. He said the worker concerned had done nothing for two and a half years and had never sought to refund the money.

Maurice O’Brien, 50, of Carrigane, Mitchelstown, Co Cork, had taken the proceedings against Dairygold, manufacturer of bacon products at its factory at Cahir Hill, Mitchelstown, Co Cork, and the trade union SIPTU but yesterday a motion was taken separately by the company asking that the case against Dairygold be struck out on the basis the case was both frivolous and vexatious.

Mr O’Brien submitted in a statement of claim that the terms secured in the forms of acceptance were improvident and unenforceable and of considerably less value than an agreement made in 2003 between the company and Mr O’Brien. Having heard the application Mr Justice Liam McKechnie said he could not see anything unlawful or threatening in imposing the deadlines referred to. He said Mr O’Brien received the redundancy cheque and it was cashed and Mr O’Brien had done nothing until February 2007. He could not see how Mr O’Brien had any action against Dairygold in the circumstances and he dismissed the matter.

Mr O’Brien commenced his employment with Dairygold on September 24, 1975, and claimed his purported redundancy in October 2004 was invalid. He submitted that on September 10, 2004, he received a letter from the company entitled “Re- Voluntary Early Retirement offer” and suggested that if he was interested he should sign same to indicate such and return it by September 15. At no stage had he signed to accept voluntary redundancy but merely signed a request for more details in relation to the retirement offer.


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