The owners of Tullamore-based Condron Concrete – which paid an €8.1 tax settlement with the Revenue Commissioners in 2008 after an underdeclaration of PAYE, PRSI and corporation tax – took €55m out of the company's cash reserves that same year, converting it "to their own benefit", according to a Labour Court case last year.
The windfall is one of the largest ever by the owners of an Irish company and reduced the company's retained profits from €75.8m to €30.33m that year, according to 2007 accounts.
Details of the windfall emerged after the company tried to implement a 10% pay cut and impose a redundancy programme based on statutory entitlements for 58 named employees. Condron Concrete said it had suffered dramatic reductions in turnover and business activity since 2007 which had seen turnover and employee numbers decrease at a "very rapid rate in line with the construction industry".
The company claimed that in order "to successfully compete for contracts to survive the recession and maintain the existing jobs it must reduce wage costs which account for more than 30% of overall costs".
In its recommendation last July, the court noted that the pay cut introduced by the company in March 2010 "was done without the agreement of the workers affected" and recommended it be reversed.
It also noted that a number of workers had been made redundant since the start of 2009 on statutory terms and recommended instead they be paid four weeks' pay per year of service instead.