§ Mr. Adam Butler
As already indicated in my reply to the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Cryer) on 16 February 1982—[Vol. 18, c. 106]—the redundancy terms available to the former employees of De Lorean Motor Cars Ltd are a matter for the company. However, they cannot be less than the statutory minimum entitlements provided by the Northern Ireland employment protection legislation which additionally secures those entitlements if an employer in receivership is unable to meet them.
For individuals, these entitlements consist of minimum periods of notice to terminate employment and redundancy payments, in each case related to the duration of the employment.
As regards notice, the minimum entitlement is one week for a person employed for between four weeks and two years, increasing by one week for each year of employment thereafter up to a maximum of 12 weeks' notice.
As regards redundancy payment, an entitlement does not arise before the completion of two years employment: the amount due is a week's pay for each year of reckonable service over the age of 18 with an extra half week's pay for each year from age 41. There is no entitlement under 18 or over minimum pensionable age.
As the company has not been in full operation very long, individuals' statutory entitlements under the above headings are relatively small. I understand that the 251W company gave adequate notice of termination of employment or issued payment in lieu of such notice to those dismissed prior to the appointment of the receiver. Only 19 of those so far dismissed are qualified to receive redundancy payments.
In addition to the above rights of individual workers, the appropriate trade unions are entitled to be consulted at the earliest opportunity about proposed redundancies. Where 100 or more employees are likely to be dismissed, the minimum consultation period is 90 days, although there may be special circumstances where an employer finds that it is not reasonably practicable to meet this requirement fully. A complaint to an industrial tribunal by an appropriate trade union about inadequate consultations, if upheld, could result in an award of pay for a "protected period" of up to 90 days.
The appointment of a receiver safeguards employees' rights under employment protection law, and if sufficient assets are not available to the receiver to meet the statutory entitlements of dismissed workers they may be met from the Northern Ireland redundancy fund. The procedures enabling this to be done embrace any unpaid "protective award" by a tribunal.