The Labour Court has recommended enhancements to the severance packages of those affected by the closure of An Post’s Mail Centre in Little Island, Cork.
However, while the union representing postal workers has described the enhanced terms as “most favourable”, a breakaway group of staff at the centre has vowed to continue its campaign of opposition to the facility’s closure, and said it will continue to urge the Communications Workers’ Union to follow suit.
Last month An Post announced its decision to shut the Little Island operation, one of four such centres across the country, with the loss of over 200 jobs.
At the time, it was announced that staff would be offered severance packages comprising of six weeks’ wages per year of service, up to a maximum of two years’ pay. Others could seek redeployment within An Post.
The new terms for staff with more than two years’ service will see an additional lump sum of €10,000 paid to full-time employees and €7,000 to part-time staff under the age of 60.
Employees over the age of 60 can now avail of the terms of the existing Company Voluntary Severance Scheme, and there will be no reductions imposed on any staff who access their pension entitlements ahead of their retirement age due to the closure.
“While the Union regards the enhanced terms to be most favourable, it is strictly a matter for each individual to decide as to whether they wish to avail of them,” wrote CWU general secretary Steve Fitzpatrick in a letter outlining the recommendations to union members.
The union said it will assist those who do not wish to avail of the severance package in their efforts to be redeployed within the group.
The closing date for applications for the package or redeployment is Friday, August 16.
However, a group of Cork Mail Centre workers who have vowed to campaign against the closure has said it will not change its course of action as a result of the new recommendations.
The Cork Mail Centre Action Group has repeatedly called on the CWU to actively oppose the closure of the Little Island facility, and has sought support for a motion which will be tabled at a general meeting of the union in the Metropole Hotel tomorrow.
The motion will call on the union to fight the closure both nationally and locally by refusing co-operation with attempts to wind down the Cork operation.
John Ahern of the Cork Mail Centre Action Group said they “expected a bone to be thrown” to staff in advance of the general meeting in a bid to appease those trying to halt the closure of operations, but they will be pushing forward with the motion regardless.
A spokesperson for An Post said it “is working directly with the affected staff, personally, and with their trade union, the Communications Workers’ Union, to ensure that everyone has detailed information about the available options, next steps, and supports”.