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Embassies: Republic of Ireland

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 26 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the effect of the dispute concerning compulsory redundancies among the locally-engaged staff at the UK Embassy in Dublin on the UK’s reputation in Ireland; and if he will make a statement. (188017)

Irish media coverage has reflected the fact that these redundancies were driven by UK Trade and Investment’s wider restructuring of their global network in line with new strategic priorities; that our embassy in Dublin has acted in accordance with Irish Labour Law throughout; and that the redundancy package the embassy has offered reflects good employer practice.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reason HM Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland declined to attend talks at the Labour Relations Commission in connection with the proposed compulsory redundancy of locally-engaged staff at the UK Embassy in Dublin; and if he will make a statement. (188026)

The Labour Relations Commission had offered its conciliation services to discuss “proposed redundancies” at our embassy in Dublin. Since the redundancies had already been effected, our ambassador declined the offer.

Our embassy and Unite, acting on behalf of the embassy’s Local Staff Association, reached a mutually satisfactory agreement on the consequences for staff of the restructuring of the UK Trade and Investment section on 21 February.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for how long the UK Embassy in Dublin has recognised the Unite trade union for industrial relations purposes in connection with the employment of locally-engaged staff; and if he will make a statement. [R] (188027)

The procedural agreement between our embassy in Dublin and Unite trade union was signed in 2003.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library a copy of (a) the agreed negotiations procedures and (b) the recognition agreement between the UK ambassador to the Republic of Ireland and the Unite trade union in relation to the employment of and industrial relations relating to locally-engaged staff at the UK embassy in Dublin. (188028)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many staff it is proposed to make redundant at the UK embassy to the Republic of Ireland; how many of these will be compulsory redundancies; and if he will make a statement. (188034)

Three compulsory redundancies were made recently at our embassy in Dublin, as a result of UK Trade and Investment's (UKTI) wider restructuring of their global network in line with their strategic priorities.

Our embassy and Unite, acting on behalf of the embassy's Local Staff Association, reached a mutually satisfactory agreement on the consequences for staff of the restructuring of the UKTI Section on 21 February.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many years each member of locally-engaged staff proposed for redundancy at the UK embassy in Dublin has served; and if he will make a statement. (188067)

The three locally-engaged staff members at our embassy in Dublin had served for eight, six and four years when they were made redundant.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what regard was paid to (a) length of service, (b) sex, (c) opportunities for retraining and (d) other factors when considering which locally-engaged staff at the UK embassy in Dublin should be proposed for redundancy. (188068)

Three compulsory redundancies were made recently at our embassy in Dublin, as a result of UK Trade and Investment's wider restructuring of their global network in line with their strategic priorities.

The redundancy package offered reflected the different lengths of service involved. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is an equal opportunities employer: gender was not a factor. The embassy looked at the opportunities for redeployment, which might have involved retraining, but there were none.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what date and by whom the decision to make locally-engaged staff at the UK Embassy in Dublin redundant was taken; on what date this decision was first communicated to the Unite trade union; on what date consultations with the Unite trade union commenced; and if he will make a statement. (188069)

The decision of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) management in London to restructure the UKTI Section at our Embassy in Dublin was confirmed to the staff involved by the Ambassador on 11 January. Staff contacted the Unite trade union the same day and consultations began on 22 January.

Our Embassy and Unite, the union acting on behalf of the Embassy's Local Staff Association, reached a mutually satisfactory agreement on the consequences for staff of the restructuring of the UKTI Section on 21 February.