Limerick man stages protest over redundancy

Aine Fitzgerald

Reporter:

Aine Fitzgerald

Liam Moloney Protest ILIM 25-25-06-13Liam Moloney.
A COUNTY Limerick man has started what he has described as “a peaceful protest” because, he claims, he has not been paid in excess of €21,000 by an engineering company following a Labour Court recommendation.

A COUNTY Limerick man has started what he has described as “a peaceful protest” because, he claims, he has not been paid in excess of €21,000 by an engineering company following a Labour Court recommendation.

Liam Moloney of Kilfinane says he is owed the money by Winthrop Engineering which are based in Turnpike Business Park in Dublin and Six Cross Roads, Business Park in Waterford, as part of an enhanced redundancy payment package.

The 64-year-old began his protest outside the grounds of the University Hospital Limerick on Tuesday evening. The engineering company, he says, have begun working on the hospital grounds but “have not paid me because they say they can’t afford it.”

Mr Moloney worked for 11 and a half years with Winthrop Engineering. He says he was unfairly selected for redundancy in 2008.

“Even though there was widespread redundancies due mainly to the collapse in the economy, in my case it was more than that,” said Mr Moloney who, during his employment worked on numerous projects for the company as an electrician, chargehand and foreman.

“The reason I was given for my redundancy in the first place, apart from the economic downturn, was that I wasn’t a foreman at that particular time,” he added.

According to Mr Moloney, the company said, in relation to his selection for redundancy, that they were only keeping foremen at that time. “But I had been a foreman on several jobs. I had taken a step down when requested to do so to let others do the job. A couple of years previous, we had only one job and we had three foremen. They asked me if I would step down and leave one of the two others do the job and they said: ‘when the time comes around again you will be back as foreman’.

Mr Moloney said he complied with their wishes for “the good of the company. But it was used against me later in the day.”

Representations were made on his behalf by the Technical, Engineering and Electrical Union. “My union requested that the decision be reversed and I be reinstated. The company were keeping on others who should have been laid off before me. They had less service and less experience than me,” said Mr Moloney.

The company, he says, refused to reinstate him. The matter went to the Labour Court – a court of last resort where cases are referred when all other efforts to resolve a dispute have failed. The Labour Court is not a court of law.

According to Mr Moloney, his union argued very strongly that he was entitled to be paid six weeks per year of service. This was in addition to his statutory entitlements which he has received. The Labour Court, Mr Moloney said, in making their recommendation said they had to take into account the current situation in the country - “the downturn in the economy”.

“Two weeks wages per year of service was what they recommended. That was on top of my statutory redundancy,” said Mr Moloney. “Obviously, if I got the six that I was hoping to get, or four, I would have been very happy but when two was awarded I had to be happy with that too. You come to an agreement before you go in that you will abide by the recommendation of the Labour Court. That is the size of it.”

Mr Moloney says he has contacted various politicians including the Taoiseach’s office about the non-payment but with little success. “Winthrop Engineer are still enjoying lucrative government contracts while still in breach of another government body. I will stay at the Regional in Limerick, I will go to Cork or I will go anywhere they are. I’m going to be there until I get results – what I am entitled to,” he said.

Winthrop Engineering made no comment when contacted by the Limerick Leader earlier this week.