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Redundancy and workplace occupation: the case of the Republic of Ireland

Niall Cullinane (Queen's University, Belfast, UK)
Tony Dundon (National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 4 October 2011




This paper aims to examine the antecedent influences and merits of workplace occupations as a tactical response to employer redundancy initiatives.


The data are based on analysis of secondary documentary material reporting on three workplace occupations in the Republic of Ireland during 2009.


Perceptions of both procedural (e.g. employer unilateral action) and substantive (e.g. pay and entitlements) justice appear pivotal influences. Spillover effects from other known occupations may also be influential. Workplace occupations were found to produce some modest substantive gains, such as enhancing redundancy payments. The tactic of workplace occupation was also found to transform unilateral employer action into scenarios based upon negotiated settlement supported by third‐party mediation. However the tactic of workplace occupation in response to redundancy runs the risks of potential judicial injunction and sanction.

Research limitations/implications

Although operationally difficult, future studies should strive to collect primary data workplace occupations as they occur.


The paper identifies conditions conducive to the genesis of workplace occupations and the extent to which the tactic may be of benefit in particular circumstances to workers facing redundancy. It also contextualises the tactic in relation to both collective mobilisation and bargaining theories in employment relations.



Cullinane, N. and Dundon, T. (2011), "Redundancy and workplace occupation: the case of the Republic of Ireland", Employee Relations, Vol. 33 No. 6, pp. 624-641.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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