APN ordered to pay for bungled redundancy
Newspaper publisher Australian Provincial Newspapers has been ordered to pay compensation in the wake of a bungled redundancy.
The Employment Relations Authority has ruled that the company unjustifiably disadvantaged a printer at its Hawke’s Bay plant, and breached his contract, when it went back on its word to make him redundant.
The Authority said that it was clear that the company had told printer Ian Rouse and his colleagues that Mr Rouse’s application for voluntary redundancy would be accepted as part of changes to shift patterns. It then, however, changed its mind when another worker agreed to change shifts, which would have left the day shift one person short when Mr Rouse left.
The Authority said that Mr Rouse’s voluntary redundancy was part of a broad package of initiatives the company offered to get Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union members to agree to the changed shifts.
“This was a specific arrangement which was part of the wider deal put forward by APN and ratified later by the union’s members,” the Authority said.
“It is not now open to APN to resile from that agreement.”
The Authority ruled that Mr Rouse should have been made redundant on March 2 this year, and ordered the company to make up his final pay, including redundancy compensation. It also ordered the company to pay Mr Rouse $5000 compensation for the stress it had caused him.
EPMU lawyer Jills Angus-Burney said that Mr Rouse had been told before last Christmas that he would be made redundant early this year, and the company’s sudden change of mind had caused him extreme distress.
“He has been off work unwell, and unable to get on with his life,” she said.
“The company has even refused to pay out his superannuation.”