UNION Boss Terry Delany moved to allay the fears of employees of Vodafone following comments made by the Communications Workers Union in an article in this newspaper.
In an update to Union members late last week, Mr Delany stated that: “There was a suggestion at one of the presentations to staff that in the event they did not relocate they would be regarded as having resigned their positions.”
However, the Deputy General Secretary of the CWU (Communications Workers Union) clarified the Union’s stance in relation to the closure of the call centre in Dundalk in an exclusive interview with the Dundalk Democrat.
“What we have said, and this is were the confusion may have arisen, as far as the Union is concerned it doesn’t matter where you live, it’s totally irrelevant, in the event that you do not wish to relocate to Newry, it is the Union’s view that the company (Vodafone) must make a severance package available to all staff concerned.”
At present the Union is in a six week consultation process with Vodafone, which started last week.
However Mr Delany stated that “the official position is that the workers must relocate to Newry with the jobs and failure to do so will mean they effectively resign their position.”
Delany also commented on the potential difficulties that might arise concerning what could be deemed reasonable in relation to the distance an employee can be relocated to.
“What we were doing is basically putting a marker down with the company to say ‘if you think for one minute that you can draw a distinction between people from Dublin and Dundalk or for that matter that you have some legal entitlement to tell people that they have to relocate regardless of location, well you can forget about it’ we’ll have a heated discussion with you on that matter.”
On the widespread talk of redundancies Mr Delany wanted to draw a line under it by categorically stating that his Union will fight any move to force through the job relocation to Newry on those that do not wish to do it.
“Of course there’s talk about redundancies, but it’s in the context of me having to say publicly - there will be no forced relocation.”
It is also the CWU’s plan to ensure that Vodafone understand the difficult process of relocating and they will have to discuss a range of interesting measures in the event that certain employees do wish to move to Newry.
“We’re cutting them off at the pass. We’re saying forget about it. If people want to locate, we ‘ll talk about their entitlements, because a whole range of things come into play regarding tax and social services.”
“It is important to understand the Union’s preference is for Vodafone to withdraw their proposals to export jobs. However, in the event they are unwilling to do so, they need to understand that they cannot walk away from their responsibilities.”