Northern Ireland

Target Express driver misses out on redundancy payment

Target Express logo
Image caption Almost 400 jobs were lost when the company was put into administration in 2012

A man who worked for a County Fermanagh haulage firm for 12 years has been told he is not entitled to any statutory redundancy payment.

Tommy Meehan was a delivery driver for Target Express, once Ireland's largest privately-owned transport company.

He was one of almost 400 workers in Northern Ireland, the Republic and England who lost their jobs when it was put into administration in August 2012.

On the day he was to receive a lump sum he was told he was not entitled to it.

Mr Meehan had previously been told by the administrator that he would receive a statutory redundancy payment of just over 12,000 euro (£10,500) from the Department for Social Protection in Dublin, for his 12 years of continuous service.

In the year the company ceased trading, he had moved jobs within the company from Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh to a depot across the border in Clones, County Cavan.

'Same situation'

Tommy Meehan told the BBC: "They keep telling me I'm not entitled to redundancy from the southern government and the northern government keeps saying 'it's too bad as you were working in the south when you were paid off and they're not going to pay either'. So I'm up against a brick wall.

"Along the border area there's a lot of people in the same situation. I was only working for 11 months in the south.

"They say you have to be working for two years before you get any money back if the firm closes or whatever happens, so I wasn't aware of that but I still should be entitled to something from somebody," Mr Meehan said.

At the time he moved, he said, he was just glad to keep the job and was not told there would be any consequences from moving from one depot to another.

He did not sign a new contract and was led to believe he was continuing to work for the same company under the same terms without breaking his record of service.

His case has been taken up by Fermanagh Sinn Fein councillor, Barry Doherty, who has been dealing with the company's administrators and government departments in Belfast and Dublin.

'Basically unfair'

Mr Doherty said no one was taking responsibility but he felt there was a moral duty on someone to ensure Mr Meehan was paid.

"There really needs to be some sort of harmonisation of the labour laws both north and south because it's basically unfair," Mr Doherty said.

"There's no reason why after 12 years of continuous employment that it appears to be only 11 months that matter.

"Especially considering the times we're in at the moment, to have got his redundancy gives Tom the opportunity take a bit of time to find out what's out there and what he can get.

"Having that denied to him puts him into a situation, that is as I've said, unfair and I basically believe unjust."

Mr Meehan found another job after leaving Target Express but was made redundant once again and he is currently looking for more work.

He said he is still owed two weeks wages and holiday pay from Target Express and he has been told that will be paid by the end of March,

However, he said he will continue to fight to get the redundancy payment which he feels he is owed.